When Phillip was just six weeks old, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that affects his lungs, pancreas and other organs. For the past 14 years, his diagnosis took a lot out of him, made him feel as if he was battling a giant issue that could never be defeated. That battle could be one of the reasons he so loves Godzilla.
It was no surprise to Phillip’s family when he wished to go to Japan, to learn about where Godzilla was filmed and see the giant beast in person.
“I’ve been interested in Godzilla since I was around 4 years old,” said Phillip. “I have seen all of the movies many, many times, even when they only have sub titles and when I was told I could have a wish, I knew I had to go to Tokyo to see Godzilla. I love Japanese culture in general so to get to see the Samurai, Aikido, swords and other things was also great.”
Phillips’ favorite part of the wish was his hotel in Tokyo which was totally Godzilla. Every night, Phillip slept under a giant Godzilla hand and could choose any Godzilla film he wanted to watch from his bed.
“I was able to unleash my inner Godzilla nerd, every day!” he said.
Throughout his trip, Phillip experienced much of the Japanese culture he had studied for so long. He learned how to use chops sticks, and became specifically adept at using them to eat his cereal and chicken nuggets.
As part of his wish, Phillip also took part in an authentic Aikido class. Often translated as "the way of unifying (with) life energy," this brand of exercise is safe for Phillip to practice due to his control of breath.
"Back when I was around six years old, my parents enrolled me in an Aikido class, and over the years I learned it was a form of Japanese martial art," he said. "My favorite technique is Munetsuki Kotegaeshi known as the punch, grab, open door and shake your hand technique."
Phillip also toured the anime district, something he has been interested in for a long time!
“My wish was everything I had hoped for and more,” said Phillip. “I want to save up to go back and ride the new Godzilla ride, Godzilla: The Real 4D, in Universal Studios Japan which will open in late 2017!”
Since his wish, Phillip has been doing great. He has had some health issues, but has not been hospitalized – something his family can attribute to a great wish experience.
“I was hesitant to talk with Philip about Make-A-Wish and always had it on the back burner, but years down the road I realized that having a wish granted is not about giving up,” said Curt, Phillip’s father. “A wish is time given to make those happy memories while he is healthy, and everyone around him gets to see him healthy."