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In 1996, Sunny was a typical teenager, attenging high school and playing sports, when his carefree life was turned upside down. Twenty years later, in his own words, he shares the impact his wish had during the most difficult time of his life.
“That spring, I started noticing pain in my legs and ribs that would come and go. By fall, the pain and discomfort spread to my head and lymph nodes. One day, during my first week of Grade 11, I nearly fainted in class and my parents took me to our doctor for some tests. We were later rushed to SickKids hospital where I was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Although we were told that the success rate for my condition was good, I required 15 aggressive cycles of chemotherapy because the disease had spread throughout my body. In the winter months of 1997, I was battling a critical bout of pneumonia and a staph infection. My cancer treatment left me with no white blood cells, allowing the infection to spread while I lay in a hospital bed for more than a month. My health had deteriorated quickly and my doctor told my family that I may not have much time left.
It was difficult to find optimism when I felt so little hope for the future. Thankfully, during this challenging time, I met with wish-granting volunteers from Make-A-Wish®. Talking with my wish granters was uplifting, and made me start to think about the possibilities beyond my hospital bed. Over the next few weeks, my health slowly improved and I started to think more about my wish.
I finally decided that I wanted a better computer. My old PC was too slow to run Windows 95 and I couldn’t connect fast enough to the “World Wide Web”, as we called it back then. I also thought this new technology would keep me occupied while I was stuck at home for at least another year going through treatment and recovering.
I was ecstatic the day my computer arrived. My wish had been something positive to look forward to. Not only was my wish granted, but Make-A-Wish delivered the best computer I could have hoped for. It was a brand new IBM computer with all of the latest gadgets and software, including a fast Internet modem. The free time I had at home allowed me to learn more about the Internet, web design and computer programming. I was also able to communicate with family and friends when I couldn’t leave the house while I was sick. My parents were thrilled that my wish had been granted and I had something to occupy my mind during this challenging time. When I finally returned to high school, I excelled in my computer science class and I helped design the school website. My computer later served me well in my university education where I received an honours degree in computer sciences.
It’s been more than 10 years since I started working professionally as an IT developer. I have enjoyed every step of my journey and my wish was my launching pad. It wasn’t until recently that I really started to reflect on my life and some of the difficult times I faced. We all have dark moments in our lives, but those experiences have the potential to change us for the better – to make us courageous, strong and resilient.”
When a wish is granted, it does much more than bring joy to a child’s heart. For wish kids like Sunny, who are faced with critical illnesses, a wish-come-true provides them with strength to battle through darkness and hope for healthier, happier days ahead.
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