How do you spend your Saturday mornings? For me, I usually sleep in and watch episodes of Tom and Jerry. But on occasion, I will get up early and do something meaningful with my life.
Today was one of those mornings. Today, I spoke on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the Lake Forest Mall's Macy for their Thanks for Sharing campaign.
Although I only recently began volunteering for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as a Wish Ambassador and Wish Granter, I have had a deep connection with its charitable work.
When I was younger, I didn’t know too much about the foundation. I was 13 years old and was in the middle of the 8th grade. Like most boys, I thought I was the invincible! I teased my younger sister, gave my parents a hard time, and ran around the house with my underwear on my head pretending to be superman. Who doesn’t? But that all changed when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
That’s something you never want to hear. But I realized that I wasn’t the only one that my cancer had hurt. My family went through the same pain that I did, spent the same countless hours in the hospital, and heard the same bad news from the doctor.
After four months of extensive chemotherapy, I finally heard about Make-A-Wish, and they gave me a trip of a lifetime. It was early morning, and the foundation sent a limo to pick my family and me up. It was the first time I ever rode one. In fact, I didn’t really understand what to do, so I actually rode in the passenger’s seat in front. For those of you who don’t know, you never ride a limo that like.
We then boarded a train to New York City, where we were greeted by a Wish staff member, who gave us a tour of the city and tickets to the Broadway show: Julius Caesar.
After the show, they took us back stage, where we met the cast and crew. Then something happened that made my heart drop. I got a tap on my shoulder and when I turned around, it was none other than the man I had wished to meet: Denzel Washington! Needless to say I was awe-struck. He took us to his dressing room, where he spoke with us for about 15 minutes. And for those 15 minutes, cancer was just another word in the dictionary. It was a thing of the past that we had forgotten. All we were able to focus on was that very moment, and how my dream was coming true. Nothing else mattered. No pain, no treatment, nothing.
Whether you’re another cancer survivor, had a relative with cancer, or know someone with cancer, we are all affected by this horrible disease. Now, imagine if we can provide the amount of joy that I had to all children suffering from these types of life-threatening medical conditions. If we can do that, then there is nothing that these kids cannot overcome.
That is why I volunteer for Make-A-Wish. In addition to speaking at events such as the one today, I also perform charity magic shows for the Foundation, as well as for the American Cancer Society, the Children's Hospital, and the NIH Children's Inn.
The point: if you are passionate about something, go out and do something about it.
For me, it is politics, social welfare, and cancer awareness. Every single day, I make sure to act on what I believe is the best way to improve these three areas. But regardless of your own passions, I urge you to act on them and make a difference.
As Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give."