Elijah was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 3 months old, but when pressed to consider all his time as a patient, his memories of forging tools with his dad overshadow the frequent hospital visits and daily breathing treatments required by his condition.
“Growing up in Montana, I spent a lot of my time watching forging shows with my dad and we made things together like tools and horseshoes,” said Elijah, who now lives in Arizona with his mom. “I remember that being a big part of my childhood, so when my social worker referred me for a wish, that was at the forefront of my mind.”
When Elijah told his volunteer wish granters about his wish - to have blacksmith equipment to make tools of his own – they were definitely surprised.
“They didn’t know what I was talking about and I had to explain that a forge is what you use to heat and shape metal into tools. I wished to have my own forge and equipment because it’s something I’ve always been interested in, but haven’t been able to pursue as a hobby since I moved to Arizona.”
Upon hearing his wish would be granted, Elijah was ecstatic. He was especially excited because he knew it would be a lasting wish.
“I didn’t want to go on a trip or meet a celebrity for just one day, I wanted something that would continue to benefit me in the future,” he said. “I can use the items from my wish for years to come, and one day I hope to have a career making tools professionally.”
On the day of the wish, judges from the competition show Forged in Fire visited Elijah’s home and demonstrated how to craft the basic form of a knife, including the bevel and blade.
Make-A-Wish Arizona worked with Camden Garcia, a former wish kid who is now firefighter, and professional blacksmiths to deliver the forge and other materials to his home.
“It was really cool to be part of the reveal process. I had a brain tumor when I was 5 years old, so I understand the power of a wish,” said Camden.
“They instructed me how to use everything,” said Elijah, who is currently setting up a workshop where he is excited to start crafting these materials.
As he heads back to school for his junior year in high school, Elijah is doing better, taking less medication and not requiring as many appointments as before, and he’s looking forward to making tools he can sell or give to friends and family.
“I’m so grateful to Make-A-Wish Arizona for giving me an inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime wish,” he said. “It cheered me up from my cystic fibrosis and allowed me to focus on a possible future career.”