Luke relished in the opportunity to dream beyond his illness. At age five, Luke was diagnosed with a life-threatening pulmonary condition that filled his life with doctors’ appointments and treatment schedules.
Enter Make-A-Wish. When Luke learned that he would receive a wish through Make-A-Wish, his mother Erin recalls, “It was delightful to watch him think about what he would like.” After much thought, Luke wished to go to a tropical paradise and see pineapples grow.
The day Luke learned his wish would come true, his reaction was priceless. “He stripped his t-shirt off and ran screaming and yelling all around the back yard. He was so loud our neighbors came out to see what was going on,” said Erin.
The first day of his wish, Luke was on the beach by 4:00 a.m. Instead of hospital visits, Luke’s days were filled with joy boogie boarding, building sand castles with his brothers, and soaking up the sun.
The trip to the Dole Pineapple Plantation was “the best day,” says Erin. Luke and his family were able to explore one of the world’s largest mazes (in the shape of a pineapple of course!), ride through the pineapple fields on the “Pineapple Express” train, and eat all of the pineapple they could.
“On our last morning, we sat out on our balcony and looked at the ocean- Keith and I both cried in joy and thankfulness for the past week. We were able to enjoy each other, play, laugh, and bask in our tropical paradise. Luke’s health held up all week- and for a minute, we felt like a “normal” family on vacation,” shared Erin.
A week in paradise, watching pineapples grow, provided Luke’s family with memories to last a lifetime. “Luke spent a lot time in the hospital. He would be separated from his brothers and Keith and I would try to balance taking turns staying with him,” says Erin. “We treasured that week in Hawaii all together more than anyone will ever know.”
But the wish experience was only the beginning for Luke and his family. The hope and joy they experienced had a transformational impact. “We made a family goal when Luke’s wish was granted that we would continue to pay it forward and forever be a part of the Make-A-Wish team."
To date, Luke’s family has participated in 5 Walk For Wishes, volunteered on 6 wishes, and raised more than $20,000 to help make wishes like his come true.
“When you grant a wish, you encourage a child to fight harder, to dream big, and to look past their illness for the future. You give them something to look forward to, to make them feel special, to value their fight. You are not just giving them a trip, a playhouse, a shopping spree, you are giving them hope.”