By 2003, wish kid Brandon had been through several surgeries and countless days in the hospital at age 5. So, when he was told that he could receive a wish from Make-A-Wish Arizona, he focused on his dream for the future and asked to have his bedroom turned into a fire station. His wish was granted, complete with lights, siren and fire pole.
“When I was young, I developed a fascination with firetrucks,” said Brandon. “On my third birthday, Station 13 came to my house and let me spray water out of the hose, then, when I was five, I did my first ride-along at Station 12 with Captain Al, who I am still very close.”
Firefighting is something Brandon has been passionate about his entire life, so when he received news Make-A-Wish Arizona could grant his one true wish, Brandon knew the answer immediately.
“My original wish was for a fire pole in my room, but then Make-A-Wish Arizona turned my entire room into a fire station! They had professional painters paint all of my walls and they put a ton of equipment in my room like a ladder and pole,” he said.
“I still remember my wish so well. I cut a giant ribbon to enter my room and Domino’s supplied what seemed like 300 boxes of pizzas,” said Brandon. “Station 12 even came to my house to help present my new room to me! That was really special.”
And Brandon isn’t the only person is his family who was influenced by his wish. After his wish experience, Brandon’s mom, Jennifer, decided to leave her position as a teacher to become a wish manager at Make-A-Wish Arizona.
“I will never forget the expression on Brandon’s face the day his wish came true,” said Jennifer. “Brandon’s wish sparked his imagination and provided years of joy for him and our entire family. During his darkest days, he would wake up, put on his turnouts and go ‘out on a call,’ putting out a fire in our kitchen or rescuing our family dog.”
“As the years passed, it became my passion to make sure every wish family experienced the power of a wish like Brandon had. I knew one day when I “grew up” I wanted to be a part of the organization that had provided so much to my son.”
Since his wish day, Brandon has celebrated many other milestones in his life – making the varsity baseball team, graduating high school, and recently turning 21 years old. Because of his wish, Brandon has developed close relationships with local fire stations and his passion for firefighting has continued to grow.
“A few years after my wish, I started doing ride-alongs at the fire station,” said Brandon. “I want to be involved with firefighting because of all the things they have done for me - each station has been there for me and treated me so well."
Brandon kept his room the same for many years, only leaving his special wish space when his family recently moved houses. He is glad the joy his wish created can now being shared by another family.
“Giving up my fire station room was tough, but a young couple moved in and they have a 9-month-old baby boy who has my room! I hope he enjoys it as much as I did. It meant so much to me over the years,” he said.
“Make-A-Wish Arizona gave me memories I will treasure for the rest of my life and helped shape my future,” continued Brandon. “Just being able to go to wish events and meet more wish kids alone has been amazing for me. The power of a wish really is amazing, and it’s something that all wish kids get to hang onto for a lifetime.”