Although he’s only 12, William already has big plans to be a set designer for LEGO when he grows up.
“Building with LEGOs gives me a way to use my imagination and think outside the box,” said William, who has loved LEGOs since he can remember. “I can take my mind off stressful things and just create something cool.”
LEGOs have definitely helped William with one stressful thing he has faced his entire life: his heart condition.
“William was born with a ventricular septal defect, or a hole in his heart,” said his mother, Tracy. “When he was 9, he suffered a serious heart infection and doctors recommended that William receive open-heart surgery to repair the defect and a damaged valve. It was terrifying because we didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Make-A-Wish Arizona volunteers connected with William and asked him what his one true wish would be. He answered without hesitation that his wish was to go to the original LEGOLAND in Billund, Denmark.
“I wished to go to the original LEGOLAND because they offer the LEGO Inside Tour, where you get to meet with the designers,” William said. “I really wanted to meet with them and learn more about how they create LEGO sets.”
The LEGO Inside Tour is an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour only offered at the LEGOLAND Billund Resort, and there are limited spots available every year. But one day, William received a special phone call from his wish granters, who said he should start packing.
“When I found out that Make-A-Wish Arizona had spots for us on the tour, I was so excited that I couldn’t stop telling everyone,” William said.
After that, the good news just kept coming. William’s heart surgery was a success, and he would be fully recovered and healthy in time for his wish.
“It was so wonderful to see William excited and looking forward to something after going through such a traumatic experience,” Tracy said. “He could finally just be happy and enjoy his wish.”
As soon as William and his family arrived in Denmark, the adventure began. William had the opportunity to see new LEGO attractions that were not revealed to the public yet, go on all the rides at the park with his LEGOLAND passes and even take a tour of a LEGO-making factory.
“It was so cool to see the process of how LEGOs are made,” William said. “We saw the machines that make them and the robots that move them – it was awesome!”
Even better, William talked to an entire panel of LEGO set designers in multiple private conferences and had dinner with them.
“They were so nice, and they spent so much time talking to us and answering my questions,” William said. “Hanging out with them was my favorite part of the whole trip.”
When it was time to return to the states, William didn’t leave empty-handed. He received a special LEGO set that was created by one of the designers: Ninjago, Master Wu Dragon.
“We were all like little kids the entire time,” Tracy said. “We could spend time as a family and soak it all in without worrying about a thing.”
After his wish trip, William is now fully recovered from his heart surgery and will be starting seventh grade in August. He feels even more confident in his future career after getting to learn from his new friends, the head LEGO designers.
“My wish encouraged me even more to become a LEGO set designer someday,” William said. “I want to move to Denmark!”
“Make-A-Wish Arizona brought joy back into our lives after a really challenging time,” Tracy said. “They not only make hard things possible, but they also make kids’ dreams come true, and we will always be grateful for what they did for our family.”