Sometimes, kids with serious illnesses can conceal their struggle. They can pass with the rest of the kids, blending in just like anyone else their age.
That’s not always possible for Angel.
His mother, Stephanie, remembers when he went swimming at a public pool. As he walked barefoot, other children noticed the growths on his feet that are caused by his condition. She can’t forget how their comments made Angel feel – isolated, self-conscious, different.
Angel’s illness often made him feel like he couldn’t make friends. He gets tired easily, and his medication can transform him from outgoing to irritable. He sometimes needs crutches or a wheelchair. Every visit to a doctor and every hospital stay magnified his sense of isolation.
But that was before his wish.
Turning Angel into a Skater
Angel spends a lot of time indoors because of his condition. He passes the time playing his video games. His favorites are the skateboard games. He imagined himself being able to pull off all the tricks he can do during the games ... but in real life.
A friend of Stephanie’s started a chain of events that would make Angel’s vision come to life; he had a child who received a wish experience, and he thought referring Angel would be a great way to help him.
Angel’s ample imagination flew in a multitude of directions, but he kept coming back to one idea: skating. His volunteer wish-granting team listened to his ideas, and arranged 10 weeks of lessons from a professional skate instructor.
“The wish granters were great – they were very interactive,” Stephanie said. “He felt very loved by them.”
The Difference Caring People Can Make
Granting Angel’s wish involved kind people in his community. A local artist painted a skateboard for him. A professional skateboard instructor gave him lessons. Macy’s employees hosted his wish, even decorating their store in a skateboarding motif and providing a cake. His lessons also began on the third floor of the Macy’s store.
Angel still lives with so much uncertainty. His condition has no treatment or cure, and the pain can flare up unexpectedly. Still, Angel’s wish come true helps them both cope when that happens. He’ll talk about all of his new skateboarding abilities, and he’ll ask to watch the newscast that told the story of his wish. It makes the difficult moments pass more quickly, for Stephanie just as much as Angel.
And when he feels well enough to skate, the other kids at the skate park always make him feel welcome. They’ve helped Angel feel better about himself – a journey that started with people in his community making his wish come true.
“It’s just definitely boosted his self-esteem and made him feel like there is a place where he belongs,” Stephanie said.