Thursday Tyrone reassured Hope that she’d meet Santa, the real Santa, in Lapland. I too desperately wanted her to get her wish. I knew that he, like Fiz, was worried about not having the money for the trip, but couldn’t break her heart by saying no.
Contact Make-A-Wish, I thought. That surprised me. I’ve never been comfortable with the premise of it and similar foundations that fund terminally ill children’s wishes. A lot of money is raised to send kids to Disneyland. Couldn’t that money be better spent on research for cures? For preventing preventable disease among millions of poor and undernourished children? Trips to Disneyland or wherever seemed to me like First World, individualistic self-absorption.
Hope has changed my mind. For a sick child, that wish is the single most important obtainable thing in his or her life. Fiz and Tyrone are showing me that, for the parents of a gravely ill child, that one child is the world. The mantra of ‘we should care equally for all children everywhere’ may be a valid sentiment but it means squat to parents and children facing grave illness.
If there are kind people in the world who want to help make dreams come true, who am I to quibble about where and how they express their generosity of spirit? Not having the money to give your child the one last gift he or she would really like is one extra burden on already overburdened parents. Money alone can’t cure childhood cancer, but it can provide the means of bringing that bit of joy to sick kids and their families.
The next time a grocery cashier asks if I want to donate to Make-A-Wish or Children’s Wish Foundation, I will not reply with my usual ‘no’. I’ll donate. Thank you, Hope.
If you haven’t seen this already, here’s how St. George, Ontario made sure a 7 year old boy got to see Santa come to town.