Throughout his life, Sawyer
has been fascinated by the beauty and wonder of nature and landscapes. “My heart and soul is at peace when I am surrounded by nature
,” he says. “I am definitely not a big city type of person.” While Sawyer enjoys hiking the great outdoors, he suffered a setback when he was 16 years old. Doctors diagnosed him with lymphoid leukemia, leaving him and his family speechless. “I was in shock and I think the only way I knew how to deal with it was to shove it deep down and not talk about it.” He says that in thistime of trials and tribulations, he discovered the significant meaning of a wish come true. Make-A-Wish®
encouraged Sawyer to pick his one heartfelt wish;without hesitation, he wished to set off on an Alaskan cruise and experience the true wonder of the wilderness.
Joined by his closest loved ones, Sawyer left his house in a blackstretch limousine to head to the airport. “I had never been inside a limo, so that was a new experience for me,” he exclaims. “I really enjoyed it!” Once they arrived at the cruise port, Sawyer says his eyes lit up upon seeing the cruise line. “If you could tip a skyscraper on its side, that was how large the ship was,” he explains. “It was mind-blowing and fascinating.” From that point, Sawyer knew his week would be filled with adventure and daring fun. The group stopped at four ports in Alaska and each time ventured off the ship to enjoy the views and hike the nature trails. Sawyer says a special present from his wish granting volunteers came in handy on one of the hikes. “They gave me a pair of binoculars to use on the trip,” he says. “We were able to see a ton of bald eagles and it was pretty great because they are such majestic birds.” Sawyer says another added bonus to his wish experience was passing the Hubbard Glacier – an ancient and well-known natural landscape. “The cruise line only got within a mile of it because it’s so massive and can be dangerous.” Sawyer says that experience was indescribable and a moment he never imagined would happen.
“The entire wish experience gave me something exciting to look forward to and was truly a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.” Sawyer says towards the end of the trip, he spotted humpback whales in the water. “To me, they resemble peace and in that moment, staring out into the unknown, I felt complete knowing that I didn’t let my illness get the best of me.”
Wish story writer: Kate Glaser