The Power of a Wish
Make-A-Wish® is dedicated to its mission of granting life-changing wishes for thousands of children with critical illnesses. For over 40 years, the organization has helped to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.
The initiative provides wish kids and their families with an unforgettable experience. The purpose is to grant life-changing wishes for children facing life-altering illnesses. Find out how Make-A-Wish impacted a City Electric Supply (CES) team member’s family through a difficult transition 36 years ago.
Julie Washburn, a graphic designer at CES, generously opened up her home so her family could share their personal experience with Make-A-Wish.
Julie’s husband, Jake Washburn, is a former wish kid. Jake was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby, a critical illness that impacts the lungs and digestive system.
“They said he wouldn’t make it past the age of four,” said Jake’s mother, Kimberly Boswell.
Jake was diagnosed with the condition at six weeks old. Kids with severe conditions like Jake’s often spend most of their lives in a hospital.
“Kids with critical illnesses live in a controlled environment,” Kimberly added. “Things are taken away from them that shouldn’t be—like playing outside and experiencing the world, being a carefree kid.”
Then an opportunity of a lifetime presented itself to the family.
“We were approached by the Child Life Director of the hospital, who reached out to counselors to assist us during the transition—and that’s how the opportunity from Make-A-Wish came about,” said Kimberly.
A representative for Make-A-Wish visited the family to ask them how they could help Jake do something he had never done before.
“They were very delicate, kind, caring, and gentle in this situation,” explained Kimberly.
Jake was asked, ‘What do you want to do?’
“He wanted to go to Disney World,” added Kimberly. “He loved the chipmunks.”
Make-A-Wish granted Jake’s wish to visit Disney World, creating cherished memories for him and his family during a difficult time.
“We lived in life-sized ‘Candy Land’ themed hotel,” remembered Kimberly. “Jake had a room full of gifts just for him and ate with some of the Disney characters—Jake focused on the chipmunks, of course. Before entering the park, they gave him a magic button to wear that had ‘Give Kids the World’ on it.”
The experience had a profound effect on Jake and his family.
“We had moment, after moment, after moment that made Jake feel special—like he was the only kid at the park. His father and I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t make everything feel perfect,” said Kimberly.
However, it wasn’t the first time Kimberly and her husband experienced something like this.
A Similar Journey
“Initially, Make-A-Wish became involved in our family through Jake’s older brother, Joshua,” Kimberly added.
Like Jake, Joshua was also diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child. That’s when the family first became connected to Make-A-Wish.
“When Joshua entered his sixth year of life, his health began to deteriorate,” Kimberly explained. “So, the Child Life Director requested to refer Joshua to a special initiative.”
And that’s when Joshua was approached to have the opportunity to have a wish granted.
When Joshua was asked what he wanted to do, he said he wanted to go to Disney World, like his little brother would after him.
“From the very moment we left Dallas, Texas, we were treated like royalty. They treated my child like the special kid that I always saw him as,” said Kimberly.
“When Joshua first arrived, he was given a ‘Give Kids the World’ button. When you wear it, magic happens. He didn’t have wait to in line for any of the rides and got to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse. We stayed there for six days,” said Kimberly.
Kimberly and her husband cherished these moments provided by Make-A-Wish because it was one of the few times Jake and Joshua got to be kids, and they could just be parents.
“All the breathing treatments, the IVs, rushing to the hospital—We asked those questions before going to Disney World. ‘What happens if he gets sick there? What happens if he needs an IV?’ explained Kimberly. “Special kids need special treatment when it comes to medical care, but Make-A-Wish took care of us.”
When Joshua passed away at six years old, Kimberly and her husband focused on medical treatment for Jake.
“We very much miss our other son even to this day. Joshua and Jake are both our world.”
Kimberly appreciates Make-A-Wish for allowing her family to spend time together and make unbelievable memories.
“They did it for us – twice. The people at Make-A-Wish are angels. I was raised to think people didn’t owe me anything. We worked for everything we’ve got. To watch this beautiful blessing for our family, not once, but twice—is why it’s one of the charities I give back to.”
Looking Forward to the Future
For Jake and his wife Julie, Make-A-Wish holds a special place in their hearts.
“I think giving back for me would be the big thing,” said Julie. It’s really cool knowing Jake was a wish kid and having that personal connection.”
“I’ve got a few friends who work with Make-A-Wish to help grant wishes. I’d love to get involved and help grant those wishes too,” said Jake.
By sharing Julie’s family’s story, we aim to inspire others to recognize the incredible work Make-A-Wish does and encourage our team members to support and donate to this life-changing organization.
As Kimberly explained, “You may never see the end result. You may not get to feel directly what your gift did. But it is an organization that gives without stopping by making a difference.”
Support Make-A-Wish today by raising awareness and donating to help create life-changing experiences for children facing critical illnesses. Your contributions can have a lasting impact; one that will be cherished by countless families for years to come.