Sometimes in life, we are faced with obstacles. Some harder than others, and some scarier than the next. But it’s how we face those obstacles that is often the greatest challenge. For wish kid and Foam Fest ambassador, Oliver, obstacles present themselves far too often.
Oliver, 8, lives with osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder known as brittle bone disease. He has had to endure several broken bones and multiple surgeries, and miss out on life events because of his disease. Oliver’s mom, Natalie, shares how heartbreaking it is to see him miss out on things with friends and family but says, “We adjust and adapt to whatever is thrown at him. He may have to miss out this time, but maybe we can plan something similar when he feels better”.
The family adapts and responds to whatever obstacle they are confronted with, like installing a ramp at their house so Oliver can have his independence to go out and play with his friends whenever he wants. Together, with the support of loved ones, they find ways to overcome obstacles, learn and grow as a family.
We sat down with Natalie and Oliver to learn about the impact that Oliver’s wish had on him and his family, and why he is excited to be the 2019 5K Foam Fest ambassador for the Canadian tour.
“Last year, Oliver had been watching the major volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and the natural curiosity and imagination of an eight-year-old boy was instantly captured! When he was asked what his wish would be, Oliver responded quickly with, ‘I want to see an actual volcano!’.
When Oliver learned he would receive a wish, he was so proud and honoured to be able to share it with his family. The wish was an amazing adventure where we were all together, having fun and enjoying a number of activities that we would have never experienced otherwise. His wish began with a tour of the cockpit and a warm reception including a real flower lei in Hawaii. We stayed in a beautiful hotel, visited a waterfall, attended a dinner luau, saw endangered seals and watched a turtle being tagged for science research. The highlight of the trip was when Oliver was able to take a helicopter ride over the actual volcanoes in Hawaii that he had been watching on TV.
Every one of us enjoyed this experience and being together while we were all healthy and able to enjoy Hawaii to the fullest. We will remember this for the rest of our lives. Most of Oliver’s big events in his life are spent anticipating surgeries or recovering from them. Having a wish to look forward to was so important for him. It was wonderful to see him waiting in excitement for his trip instead of anxious before going to the hospital.
This wish was so important for all of us as a family – to see what is possible and know that there is no limit to what Oliver can do or what we can do together. Where there’s a wish, there’s a way!”
Why did your family sign up for Foam Fest?
“We are excited to participate in The 5K Foam Fest event this year because it is a fun way to give back to an amazing organization. We know that Oliver won’t be able to participate in some of the obstacles, but he will be able to do most of them. We bought a special back pack carrier for Oliver so that my husband and I can take turns carrying him through the obstacles when he can’t manage them on his own. We are very excited to be part of this and Oliver is looking forward to going through the obstacles and the foam.
When I asked Oliver what he was most excited about, he responded with, ‘I’m going to crush the foam!’”
If you had one message to share with all Foam Fest participants across Canada, more than 65,000 Canadians, what would that message be?
“Thank you for participating in this event, which is fun and benefits a great organization! And thank you for raising funds to help grant future wishes. I can tell you it makes a difference to the child and their family and helps us fight a little stronger. Sometimes you have to get down and dirty to get to the finish line, so you may as well have fun while you are doing it!”