Brandon has only traveled a handful of times in his life. However, he had never seen the ocean in real life. That was, at least, until last December when Make-A-Wish® North Dakota granted his wish.
Sixteen-year-old Brandon has a rare and chronic liver disease. One that means many doctor’s visits and a constant worry of what’s next. Because of his condition, Brandon doesn’t get to be the care-free teenager that he should be. So when given the opportunity he jumped at the chance to relax and put all worries out of his mind.
Brandon was referred to Make-A-Wish North Dakota by his mother who heard of the Make-A-Wish mission on Facebook. Once Brandon found out he was eligible to have a wish granted he began imagining what the perfect wish would be. He imagined warm, sunny weather, beaches and, of course, the ocean. With this in mind, Brandon wished to go to Jamaica.
His wonderful wish granting volunteers planned a wish reveal to let Brandon know his one true wish was coming true. Brandon’s family and friends celebrated the news with goodies and a showing of the new Star Wars film, which happens to be Brandon’s favorite movie series. “[His wish granters] made Brandon feel very special at his Make-A-Wish send-off,” says Jill, Brandon’s mom. And with that he was off on the trip of a lifetime from snowy Grand Forks to sunny Jamaica.
When Brandon and his family reached their desired destination, their days were filled with all the things for which Brandon had wished- from snorkeling and seeing colorful sea life to zip lining through the jungle. They kept busy by swimming with dolphins and even horseback riding in the ocean. But there was also plenty of time for them as a family to relax on the beach, soak in the sun, and for Brandon to enjoy his first ocean encounter.
“Brandon just loved being in Jamaica and being away from all the doctors. He’s already talking about going back there one day,” says Jill. For wish kids like Brandon a wish is so much more than just a week-long trip or a single moment in time. It’s the chance to make happy memories with loved ones and in Brandon’s case experience something like the ocean for the very first time.
You, too, can see first-hand the impact of a wish and even play a role in making them come true. Even just by attending one of our many special events throughout the state you help make wishes in your community possible. Check out our ever-updating calendar of events to see what’s going on near you!