by Amy Thompson
“Your child has cancer” are the most devastating words a parent could hear.
At first, we were unsure if we heard the doctors correctly. It just didn’t seem possible. The night before the diagnosis, our 12-year-old son Jonathan was playing a modified soccer game at his school. Everything was normal – parents cheering from the sidelines, whistles blowing, coaches yelling, and our sweaty boy asking after the game if we could get something to eat. It was a typical night of sports. We never thought we would wake up the next morning with our lives changed forever by those dreaded words.
In October 2017, our son Jonathan was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. From that day on, our family was turned upside down. We had to create a “new normal” that consisted of numerous hospital admissions for chemotherapy, being separated from one another for days at a time and eventually a seven-week stay in Boston for proton beam radiation. Along the way, we learned so much about something we never wanted to know about.
We all were becoming exhausted both mentally and physically, especially Jonathan. We just wanted to be home as a family and do family activities like we used to do.
When we heard from Make-A-Wish Central New York, it was perfect timing. They informed us that Jonathan qualified for a wish and they wanted to make his wish come true. All of the people we worked with at Make-A-Wish, especially the wish granters, were very friendly, compassionate, patient and made us feel so comfortable.
When Jonathan was asked, “If you had one wish, what would it be?” The answer was very clear. He loved WWE wrestling and wanted to go to WrestleMania. At that time, we didn’t know if it would be possible because of timing: The event was coming up very soon. But Jonathan knew what he wanted and was prepared to wait. A week later, we received the best possible news: Jonathan would be able to go! I was so happy and excited that I started crying, happy tears of course! At that time, we didn’t know how special it really was for Jonathan to be able to experience his wish instead of waiting another year.
Jonathan’s Make-A-Wish trip was so much more for us than you can ever possibly imagine. The trip allowed us to spend much-needed quality time as a family. We were able to see precious smiles and hear all the laughter. We were able to forget about all the medical stuff associated with Jonathan’s treatment and just be a family. It gave us continued strength and reenergized us to keep fighting the fight.
Unfortunately, Jonathan lost his battle to cancer on February 6, 2019. He never gave up and fought right to the end. He was always a giving person and would always put others before himself. He was a very appreciative child who took nothing for granted. Jonathan appreciated his Make-A-Wish trip so much and talked about it for months afterward; every time that precious smile would come out and light up the room! Those smiles will never, ever be forgotten and we will cherish them forever.
Knowing what Make-A-Wish did for our son and our family, we wanted to give back and be part of the Make-A-Wish family in Jonathan’s honor. In November 2019, we officially became wish granters and are currently working on our first wish. We are excited to help make another child’s wish come true and see all the smiles.
We know a wish experience can truly change a child’s life, just like it did for our son. As wish granters, we can help make that happen. Please consider becoming a volunteer or a donor and help make wishes come true. Don’t let children with critical illnesses wait for their once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Jonathan’s wish was a true miracle for sure and we are forever grateful. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.