By Michael Mort, Adult “Wish Kid” and Volunteer
Words are my personal passion. For the past few years, I have shared my life’s journey, and the ideas that make who I am, on my blog Man, Myth, Mike. When the idea was conceived for a Make-A-Wish® Central New York blog, I knew it was a project of which I wanted to be a part. I believe words can create stories that inspire us, give us hope, and change how we see the world. Wish, for example, is a relatively short word in the English language but can mean so very much. Just four little letters can combine to create a truly powerful, universal idea: No matter how bad things may seem, we never lose our will to wish.
For three decades Make-A-Wish Central New York, an organization very close to my heart, has been granting the wishes of children, kindling hope, strength and joy in the lives of all those affected. Since 1985, more than 1,500 magical wishes have come true for local children dealing with life-threatening medical conditions. If you have ever seen a friend or loved one experience serious illness, or if you have experienced it firsthand, you understand how all-consuming it can be.
In May of 1998, my younger brother and I were both given a frightening diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscle wasting disorder. News like that is devastating at first but over time you learn to adapt and adjust – you get busy living. When my parents found out we were eligible for a wish, we were extremely reluctant to accept the idea for the first few years. It seemed like it was giving up, reducing ourselves to “sick kids.” We eventually came to the realization that a wish is not a consolation for being sick. Rather, it is a chance to get the most out of life. In a time of absolute uncertainty, brutal change and unimaginable fear, a wish can be such an incredibly freeing concept.
Working with outstanding Wish Granters, my brother and I decided what our wishes would be. My brother wished to travel to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and stay at Give Kids The World. I determined that my family and I would go to Southern California for a “trip of firsts,” on which I experienced Disneyland, Legoland, the Pacific Ocean, the San Diego Zoo, and Mission Beach all for the first time. Our wishes were truly one-of-a-kind, spectacular and life-altering experiences, for which we will always be grateful.
While my wish may have been granted back in 2003, I have remained involved with the organization ever since. I have been involved via multiple speaking events and fundraisers where I have shared my story and talked about the power that wishes have. A few years ago, I began my role as Volunteer Social Media Manager, helping chapter staff navigate the ever-changing face of digital media. I am absolutely honored to be a part of a cause that means so much to me on a very personal level. The pride I take with my work is fueled by the notion that there is always hope as long as there are people who dream. As John Lennon once said, “I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.“