As an estate planning attorney I am amazed at what I continually learn from our clients. Their lives are diverse, and their histories read like a great novel of successes and failures. I am fascinated to observe how different people have faced, and overcome, significant adversity at various points in their lives. More often than not, I find that the struggles, personal or financial, that they have faced have changed and shaped their perspective on life. We end up looking at simple things in our lives in a very different way.
I am very fortunate to be involved in the Make-A-Wish Foundation as a Wish Grantor. It is incredibly rewarding to see these young children face their own adversity with such courage and hope. Recently I went with another Wish Grantor to grant the wish of a 12 year-old boy who recently had undergone a bone marrow transplant. I think I was more excited than he was. I wondered what his wish would be. Would he want to go to the Olympics inLondonor meet a famous athlete like Peyton Manning or Derek Jeter? Maybe he would want to go to Disney World, and of course perhaps he would want his Wish Grantor to go with him?
When the moment arrived, we asked our “Wish Kid” to picture in his mind that it was his birthday and that he was about to blow out the candles on his birthday cake. At that moment if he could wish for anything, what would he wish for? His reply, “I would like to go to the mall for the day with my family.” I almost thought that I had heard him wrong. As I spoke with him more, I learned that he had only been to the mall once or twice in his life. I was speechless. What was commonplace for me was monumental for him. He said that he would like to go to the sporting goods store to play on the bicycles. I do not think the thought even occurred to him to actually ask for a bike;he just hoped he could play on one. He did say that he wanted to go to the Apple Store. Even here he surprised me. He did not ask for an iPad or a Mac Book, rather he wished that he could simply have an iPod.
My “Wish Kid” taught me an incredible lesson both personally and professionally. What is important to me is probably not important to someone else, and to assume so would be a terrible mistake. Each family and individual has its unique needs and concerns to address.
I can tell you that my “Wish Kid” is going to get his day at the mall, and it is going to be the most incredible mall trip that a 12 year-old boy could possibly imagine.
Contributed by MH attorney West Hunsaker