An inspirational book about eight children who struggled with life-threatening diseases and had their wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish foundation.
In the foreword, Make-A-Wish co-founder Frank Shankwitz tells the story of the first child who inspired the foundation. He suffered from leukemia, and his wish was to become a Highway Patrol motorcycle officer. Shankwitz, who was in the Arizona Highway Patrol at the time, was able to grant his wish with the help of other officers. All of the stories are touching, and the children are memorable and, while similar, display plenty of differences. There is Tatum Null, who describes herself as “sassy” and is obsessed with Disney princesses. Katelyn Atwell, another cancer survivor, became an engagement speaker after raising enough money to grant five wishes. While the Make-A-Wish foundation is often thought of as a relief for children in pain, this shows that it is much more. Sparks demonstrates how having a wish granted—whether it was a vacation, swimming with a dolphin or meeting a significant person—helped with the healing process. Many of the children became stronger as a result of having something to look forward to. As Sharon Atwell, Katelyn’s mother, says, St. Jude healed her daughter physically, while Make-A-Wish healed her spiritually. Not all the stories have happy endings, but the patience and gratitude of the parents for every moment they get to spend with their children is inspiring.
The subject matter makes the book occasionally painful to read, but it is informative about the difficult world of children with life-threatening diseases and their families.