By Coleen Carman, Wish Mom
March is a special month in our home as it not only includes the much celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, but it is also the month that includes our wedding anniversary and, more importantly, Patrick’s birthday on the 24th! Needless to say, it is a month full of celebrating in our family. As part of our celebrating, we want to share our joys and appreciation for all that Make-A-Wish Central New York has given our family…
The gift of a wish granted to a child who endures a life threatening illness is not only a dream come true for that child, but is also a gift of cherished memories given to that child’s entire family. Such is the case for our family as a result of Patrick’s 2006 wish trip to Walt Disney World. The joy experienced by Patrick, his brother Brennan, my husband Kevin and myself was immeasurable. The memories made on that trip have been a source of resilience and hope during the countless medical challenges that ensued upon our return. To this day, Patrick (now almost 22) and Brennan (a high school senior who is soon to be headed off to college) frequently share those memories, which remain as vivid as if this trip was just taken yesterday. As Patrick’s parents, we have witnessed the incredible bond strengthen between our sons as a result of this wish granting experience. Our family has experienced first hand the transformative power of our son receiving a wish from Make-A-Wish Central New York. Throughout every hospitalization, every medical procedure, every day where the answers to complicated medical decisions are unclear; there has been that constant backdrop of precious memories of a wish being granted to a young boy with big dreams.
When moments of discomfort and uncertainty become overwhelming for Patrick, our solution is to take a memory walk back to the sights, sounds and happy feelings that a wish experience brings. Quite simply, the gift of a wish granted provides one with an everlasting light of hope to guide them through their darkest times. A wish granted is not just a brief moment in a child or his family’s life. It becomes a part of that family’s tapestry. Music has always been a driving force in Patrick’s life. From his early days in the NICU through the present day, the soothing comfort that music provides has been undeniable.
So a few years back when Patrick decided to embark on his second CD, his heart turned to Make-A-Wish Central New York. What a tremendous pairing this became! Patrick’s two passions colliding; his insatiable love of singing and his joy of reconnecting with our Make-A-Wish Central New York family. This proved to be quite an endeavor, as in the middle of producing this CD, Patrick became gravely ill. We put the CD project on hold for several months as we cared for Patrick both in the hospital and at home. What helped pull Patrick through this particularly devastating chapter in his life was the desire to get his CD completed so that Make-Wish Central New York would have more funds to help support a child’s wish. To have someone experience the magnitude of joy that he felt from his own wish was the inspiration he needed to get through. In 2013, Patrick was able to achieve his goal while sharing not only his gift of music but also the joyful memories of his wish with all of the people throughout CNY who purchased his CD.
Giving back to an agency who gives so much seemed so natural to our family when our son Brennan began contemplating his Eagle Scout Service Project in 2014. His memory of the wish granted to his brother led him to approach Make-A-Wish Central New York. His dream of fulfilling a wish for the people who gave our family so much joy was his anchor. We are thankful to the staff at Make-A-Wish Central New York who embraced Brennan’s vision of creating a wish pond. As his vision of the pond came to fruition, so came a resurgent flood of joyful memories from Patrick’s wish trip. The spirited momentum of support and enthusiasm from the Make-A-Wish Central New York staff, friends and the community members all across CNY was remarkable. The infectious spark that Brennan ignited to create a relaxing place for reflection at the Make-A-Wish Central New York headquarters was a labor of love. His vision was not only fueled by what he had directly experienced years back, but also by the comfort that this wish pond would give to past,present and future wish families. It is now a place to hear the calm of the waterfall while seeing its beauty, a place to experience the love and gratitude that a wish granted to a family member ignites in one’s heart.
Yes, March is a fun-filled month for our family. But knowing how lucky we are to have a dedicated team of staff members and volunteers at Make-A-Wish Central New York is not something that we simply think about in this month exclusively. In truth, our appreciation for all that Make-A-Wish Central New York is and all that it has done is a constant thread in our family’s tapestry, and it makes us a very lucky family!🍀