Magic, in its truest form, brings hope to audiences that the charm and illusion they see is real. Magic, for wish kid Xavier, brings a different kind of hope – the kind that allows him to overlook his life-threatening muscular dystrophy and entertain others with his passion, his strength and his joy.
Xavier’s obsession with magic came after his diagnosis. Before the age of 7, he was an active kid, always outside playing sports. That year, his parents, Marlene and Jose started noticing changes in Xavier.
“He would walk slower, couldn’t run as fast and was moving on his tippy toes,” said Marlene. “Then he started falling a lot.”
His physician recommended blood work. The diagnosis was muscular dystrophy.
The disease progressed swiftly, his movement decreased and his ability to use his legs disappeared. That’s when Xavier discovered magic. It was something he could still do with his arms and his hands, something he could concentrate on and create fun shows for his family.
“He amazes people all the time, they are just in awe with all his tricks,” Marlene said.
“I can’t do much anymore, but magic… it’s something I can still do,” Xavier said. “Plus, it’s really fun for me.”
Xavier didn’t need long to think about his wish, it came to him like a poof of magician’s smoke.
“I wish to meet Penn & Teller and see their show in Las Vegas.”
The famous magicians are Xavier’s idols. He wanted to see their tricks live and learn from them about their illusions.
Xavier’s wish actually started with a little time on the stage for him. He found out he was going to have his wish granted as a special surprise wish reveal on stage at the Tucson Walk For Wishes in October.
“He felt like a celebrity!” Jose said about the public wish reveal. “Everything went by so fast after that, boom, boom, boom! Then it was actually happening.”
“Our wish granters Dave and Jessie were amazing! They really had us so excited for what was to come” Marlene said.
Xavier and his family traveled to Las Vegas and had a day to see the sights before Xavier would meet Penn & Teller.
“We went to the strip all day!” said Xavier. “We visited Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, M&M'S World®, New York-New York Roller Coaster, Hershey’s Chocolate World and walked all that night!”
The following day was one filled with excitement and anticipation.
“Xavier was so excited, thrilled!” Marlene said. “He couldn’t wait to meet Penn & Teller.”
Xavier and the family were escorted backstage to what they thought was an office but soon, the magicians appeared.
“I stopped in my tracks,” said Xavier. “Teller was right there, in front of me! I said, ‘so do you talk?’ and he said ‘Oh, I’m not telling!’ He was so funny!”
Xavier had one of his questions answered (Teller does not speak during shows) but there was more to come.
“He showed me magic tricks and gave me cards too!” Xavier said. “Then Penn came in and they both gave me all the cool stuff I was looking at earlier from keychains, to figurines, to magic kits, I got it all.”
They spent time taking pictures, signing autographs and Xavier asked them a couple questions. When Teller was signing a deck of cards, Xavier told him his name was spelled with an X and not a J.
“Teller then crossed out the J and turned it into an X and said ‘that’s magic’! Xavier couldn’t stop laughing,” Marlene said.
Then it was time for the show to begin. Penn & Teller did not disappoint, catching bullets in their mouths and showing off tricks that had never been shown before. But it was a special part of the act that really made the wish experience magical.
“They pulled a rabbit out of the hat and named the rabbit Xavier!” said the very happy wish kid. “I couldn’t believe it!
“I kept looking at Xavier during every act to see his reaction. His face was so happy, and he couldn’t stop smiling. That was my favorite part,” Jose said.
After the show, Penn & Teller met up with the family and signed Xavier’s ticket. The family headed home the day after, but for Xavier and his parents, the wish is still going.
“Our whole family had a great time. Xavier’s older brother, Damon, enjoyed all the awesome things we got to do on the trip just as much as Xavier,” Marlene said.
Jose said, “My favorite part was seeing Xavier just acting like a kid again. He was so interested in the magicians, especially during the personal lesson from Teller. He was so into it!”
“The wish brought us closer as a family,” he continued. “It was a good time to just forget about work and school and just have fun. That’s exactly what we did, just had fun and didn’t worry at all.”
Xavier is still practicing magic and shocking people with his incredible tricks. It was an experience he will never forget.
“I still talk about it at school all the time. I am learning how to do all the tricks they taught me and the ones I saw them do on stage,” Xavier said. “The wish was exactly what I wanted.”