Jared, 17, is an athletic kid. His favorite class in school is PE. He loves to play basketball, tennis, and play paintball with friends. He also loves to swim, hunt, run and explore new places.
When he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, Jared’s treatments turned his amazingly active life into something a little more sedate. He was tired. He was hurting. And he was ready to be active again as soon as possible.
When his Make-A-Wish Arizona wish granter volunteers showed up to talk to him about the possibility of a wish, Jared had many ideas but all of them were focused on one thing – getting back to his active life and creating a new experience.
“I love beaches and swimming in the ocean, so when my volunteers said I could travel for my wish, I thought about all I heard about Atlantis Resort and the Bahamas and wished to go there,” said Jared. “It was everything I thought it would be and more.”
“Jared was so excited to have something to look forward to during treatment,” said Kristin, Jared’s mom. “But the actual trip – the care and thoughtfulness of all the travel plans, activities, gifts – was wonderful. We felt like royalty.”
Jared enjoyed the water slides, tried parasailing, built and raced his own custom remote control car, had a massage, ate lots of delicious food and, best of all, was an “ultimate trainer” for a day at the resort’s Dolphin Cay.
“My favorite part of the wish was being an ultimate trainer for the day,” said Jared. He taught tricks to dolphins, fed nurse sharks and stingrays and even had a behind-the-scenes tour of the exotic animals.
“Jared’s journey was difficult for everyone,” continued Kristin. “Having a wish come true helped bring joy back to our family. It gave Jared some dignity and confidence. Everyone made him feel like a million bucks!”
“It was nice to enjoy my family and share laughs and be happy, not thinking of my disease or treatment,” said Jared. “I feel so blessed to be treated to this amazing wish experience after such a difficult time in my life.”