Josh, 18, refuses to let anything get in the way of his love for adventure.
He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was 5 months old, but he never let that stop him. He’s spent his life hiking, playing sports and participating in triathlons.
“He’s always been an adventurous kid,” said his mom, Jen. “Josh’s treatment involves lots of medications and a vest that act as percussion for his lungs, but we feel very blessed he’s been able to stay active and maintain his health.”
Because he “felt fine”, Josh initially didn’t want to accept a wish.
“I don’t want to be defined by my diagnosis or have too much attention focused on me because of my cystic fibrosis,” said Josh. “But when my doctor at Phoenix Children’s Hospital mentioned it again, my mom thought about it more and decided to refer me for a wish.”
“He rarely asks for anything, and this was a way to allow Josh to focus on himself, for once, and do whatever crazy things he wanted,” said Jen. “After hearing so many great things from other families, we decided to start the process and make it into an adventure.”
Josh knew he wanted to travel somewhere where he could go on fun excursions and eat lots of food, so a cruise to Hawaii seemed like the perfect wish!
“Hawaii is so green and beautiful. It’s so different from Arizona,” he said. “I was excited to see different animals, especially dolphins.”
The day of Josh’s wish, his parents and two siblings were shocked when the Make-A-Wish ‘shuttle’ arrived.
“Josh couldn’t believe that a limo picked us up… okay, we were all excited,” said Jen. “When we got to the airport, Josh was the first person to board the plane, and he met the pilot and checked out the cockpit.”
Josh needs to eat more calories than the average person because of his condition, so he enjoyed unlimited food throughout the week – starting with his flight.
“They had so many snacks and every kind of food I wanted,” he said. “Then, when we got on the ship, I tried things I’d never had before like calamari and octopus. They were good! I really liked the lava cake… I want some more of that.”
Throughout the week, Josh and his family enjoyed excursions like dolphin sightings and zip-lining over jungle and waterfalls.
“I loved snorkeling in the ocean and seeing all the different kinds of fish,” said Josh.
“We went on a raft adventure and saw so many dolphins that swam alongside us, plus we had great guides and the scenery was so beautiful,” said Jen. “It was fun to see Josh so excited and find joy doing so many of the things he loves.”
Josh and his family also created memories during their time on the ship.
“We hadn’t been on a vacation in a while and hanging out in the room together and bonding helped us become closer as a family,” said Jen.
“What was most special is that we all got to do it together. We tried new foods together, saw new places and did things we've never done...together,” she continued. “It was an awesome reward to all the time he’s put into his treatments and his health.”
Josh is now a senior in high school and plays volleyball on his school’s team. His next adventure will be going on a mission after he graduates.
“I think Josh’s wish made him more grateful for the time we have together,” said Jen. “We’ve gone on trips to California before, but Hawaii was the farthest place we’d been as a family and we would never be able to have an experience like this without Make-A-Wish Arizona.”
“This experience helped reinforce the principle we have tried to live by. CF is forever a part of Josh's life, but it's not his most defining feature.”