March is Children’s Wish Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the joy that children, diagnosed with a life-threatening illness feel when their most heartfelt wishes are granted. Because of the generosity of donors as well as partnerships and corporate sponsors, the Children’s Wish Foundation can grant more than 1,000 wishes every year, which means three wishes coming true every single day.
One of those wishes went to Adam Martino, who is now 24 years old and lives in Laval. At 16 years old, he was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), and construction equipment and heavy machinery had always fascinated him. His dream was to visit Caterpillar’s headquarters in Peoria, Illinois. He found out during treatment he’d be receiving his wish, and once he was in remission, he was able to make the journey.
“My family and I were granted a one-week trip to Chicago and then we drove down to the headquarters,” he explained. “We spent the entire day with them, we had a full tour of all the facilities, we met with executives and employees who are all really great people, and we got a full demo. I even got to drive the machines, which was amazing. And we had an awesome time in Chicago.”
Having his wish to look forward to was a major driving force during chemotherapy, Martino said. “It was a glimmer of hope through the treatments, knowing that one day I’ll be better and make this wish come true. Me and my family made great memories – I mean, I’m still talking about it nine years later.”
The trip also helped Martino choose a career path: “It confirmed my decision to go into mechanical engineering and allowed me to find a job at the time. I was a student and through the wish, I found a job through Caterpillar here in Canada and worked there for two summers.”
From the beginning of the wish experience, Martino said the organization made him feel truly special. “I was a teen and a social worker put me in touch with the wish fairy. She made it seem very magical and it really was. They basically said, ‘Whatever you want, we’ll make it happen.’”
If you want to help the Children’s Wish Foundation, visit www.childrenswish.ca
Did you know that...?
- Travel wishes are the most popular wish, representing 66 per cent of wishes in a typical year. Item wishes make up approximately 30 per cent while celebrity meetings come in at 4 per cent.
- Disney World is the most popular wish destination, representing over a quarter of all wishes granted in a typical year.
- The average wish trip is booked over 100 days in advance, but in 2018 they booked rush trips in as few as 24 hours prior to departure.
- Children’s Wish Foundation grants wishes to kids aged 3-17. The average age of their wish kids this past year was 11.5 years.
- 149 hospitals and clinics treated wish children over the last year.
- Wish children have flown to 131 cities around the world in the last year.
- Anyone can refer a child for a wish. Wishes are never delayed and there is never a waiting list.