Tuesday, October 04, 2011

What would you wish for....

I'm sure everyone remembers that wildly overplayed song by B.O.B and Hailey William's, "Airplanes?" I could really use a wish right now.

I used to get really annoyed with that song and say, "Oh st
op sitting around wishing on things that are not stars, get out there and get stuff done and it'll all work out."
But as I write this entry, it's completely stuck in my head, and ya know.... sometimes... maybe it's ok to "really need
a wish right now."

...and sometimes. The right people find out....

Earlier this summer, I discovered an incredible organization. It’s called The Sister’s Wish, and the purpose is to grant “Wishes” for young adults from ages 18-30 who have life threatening or terminal illnesses (and live in ME, NH, or MA).

Most people know about the many “wish granting” organizations for “sick” children, that send kids to Disney before they may not have the chance anymore, or things like that. What a lot of people don’t know is that once those children turn 18, the magic, and wish granting tends to come to a screeching halt. Doing all the work that I do, this is why the field of transition is such a hot topic right now. At the (less than) magic age of 18, legality changes, financial situations change, eligibility rules change, and often times, services that seemed consistent, all of a sudden may not even be available. In lots of cases, being legally an adult when you have a special health need is a series of struggles and figuring out where to go next. To put it quite bluntly, you are no longer “the cute sick kid” that everybody brought stuffed animals.

So when that scary point of adulthood hits, it's often a matter of just getting your daily needs met, and it is not common that people come along and ask “what do you WANT? What can make your life easier, or maybe just a little brighter? How can we make you HAPPY?” But, this is exactly what the amazing people at The Sister’s Wish do!

When I first heard about them, I not only thought that was incredible, and got a little weepy over some of the stories posted on their website that explained some of the wishes they had granted, but I forwarded the information to one of my colleagues who works with Next Step, a spin off program of camp (again, for young adults who have outgrown that source of fun and hope…) I said, “this sounds like something that is for our population. Have you heard of it?” Ready to hit the ground running, spreading the word about this incredible idea. Shortly he wrote back and said, “Mal… those are the Turgeon sisters… their brother was Craig. That IS our population.”

After having a mini meltdown of how small the world is, and how many GOOD people I have come across through my life, I realized he was right, and indeed these were the sisters of a young man I went to camp, and college with. I didn’t know him well, but my family had also known their father, and any connection to camp just makes all of our hearts swell. I quickly wrote an email explaining my connection to them, the work I do, and how I just really wanted to support their mission.

Soon, I was chatting with Beth on the phone and she invited me to a fundraiser on the Casco Bay ferry to meet everyone. It was a lovely afternoon, we had delicious pizza in Portland and I got to see what Sister’s Wish was really all about. I also got to meet local rap artist Spose (http://youtu.be/KgxT5a0Vmeo he really is pretty awesome, and once again…we knew a lot of the same people. Oh hey Maine)

After this event, they told me I should apply for a wish? ME? I didn’t imagine I would be eligible for something like that, and moreover, what would I wish for? Think about it! When was the last time someone asked you “what do you wish for?”

It was a striking moment for me when I realized…. “You know. I am so fortunate and it is crazy to say right now, I am in a wonderful place in my life, and can’t think of a darn thing I need to fulfill me right now.” Wow.

Then I realized this wish was not going to be for me. I had done my time, I had had my journey, and although it goes on, it was time for somebody else to be rewarded. My little sister, Maisy.

She was going off to college and drastically needed a new computer. She is one of those people who has always gotten hand me downs. Gadgets, clothes, etc. And not once would she ever complain about what she has. However, over the past few months I had watched her grow into an incredible young woman, leader, self advocate, mentor, who simply dove headfirst into the process of applying to college, following her heart more intensely than I had ever seen. She deserved this.

I explained my idea to Beth, and we decided to make this happen, and even better, make it a surprise! This wouldn’t be easy as we would have to convince Maisy to come home for a special fundraising event to present it to her AFTER she went away to school (in New Hampshire nonetheless. But we did it! I was able to get her to fill out the application with her own words, and get her home without her even knowing!

When the day finally came, we all piled into the car (I had a terrible cold, and Maisy was exhausted from school. She even asked me the night before, “If I get sick too, do I still have to go to this thing?” ….yes. You do.) and arrived at the ice cream store in Sanford Maine. There was a wonderful crowd, great music, ice cream, and amazing French fries (I have a thing for French fries, ok?) When suddenly, the music turned off, and they called Maisy’s name to go up. She thought she was simply dragged along because I was speaking, and had no idea why she was being called up.

I stood with her as Amy and Beth presented her with her new Macbook Pro and explained how we had planned the whole thing. Then they told me, because of what I had done, I got a wish too! Maisy cried, we all hugged and took a bunch of pictures, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL SISTERS!!!! Sisters’ wish for sisters!!!! It was a terrific afternoon, wishes were fulfilled… and now…

I am back to the drawing board! I suppose I can think of something!

What would YOU wish for : )

OR do you know a young adult who would love to have a wish granted? Check out their website, and have them apply! Spread the word about this amazing group :)


LIKE them on Facebook!