“I’ve always enjoyed working with kids,” said Dave, who was previously a wish granter in California. “When I moved to Arizona for medical school, I wanted to continue volunteering because helping these kids and families had been such a great experience.”
Dave tries to connect with his wish kids from his first meeting with them.
“It’s amazing when families welcome you into their home,” he said. “It gives you a chance to really get to know your wish kids, not only to find out what they wish for but also what they do for fun, and their interests so I can plan to connect with them in the weeks and months leading up to their wish.”
Dave developed a particularly special connection with one of his recent wish kids, Xavier.
Dave helped reveal Xavier’s wish to meet Penn & Teller at the Tucson Walk For Wishes last October, and then joined Xavier’s team for the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in Tucson. He also regularly spends time with Xavier at his Juniors Active in Wheelchair Sports activities.
“It’s awesome to grant wishes in my community for kids who are basically in my backyard,” said Dave. "It allows me to stay connected before, during and after the wish. Plus, we may have crossed paths before and I never realized they needed my help, but now I have a way to make their lives better – and that makes my life better, too.”
And getting to know his wish kids has helped Dave truly understand the heart behind every wish.
“Muscular dystrophy has really affected Xavier’s life,” said Dave. “When he wasn’t able to use his legs anymore, that’s when he discovered magic. I asked him to show me some magic tricks and he’s really good! It was so cool to understand the inspiration for his wish to meet Penn & Teller.”
In addition to his role in the Wishmakers on Campus organization at the University of Arizona, Dave also created a Make-A-Wish club at his medical school last year. Through his efforts, Dave encouraged nearly 20 of his classmates to become Make-A-Wish Arizona wish granters.
“It’s important to not only be a volunteer but an ambassador for Make-A-Wish as well,” he said. “It’s easy to reach out to your peers and your community and get more people excited about becoming involved. I always love sharing the mission with others whenever I get a chance.”
Through school, Dave also has a medical perspective about the impact of a wish, having observed the mental, emotional, and physical impact a wish can have on a child.
“A wish gives these kids everything their treatment can’t,” he said. “I’ve been involved with a lot of community service organizations, but Make-A-Wish is so fulfilling because you see a child’s transformation. I can see the spark in their eyes and it makes them so happy - it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”