A countdown calendar hung from the family’s fridge, reminding 3-year-old Craig
of his upcoming wish. His mother, Kim says that there is nothing comparable to the power of a wish. “There are few things worse than being told your child is sick with a life-threatening illness.” Doctors diagnosed Craig when he was two with tumors on both his brain and spinal cord. He underwent aggressive chemotherapy; a drastic change from the family’s normal and happy life. In that dark time, Kim says she found comfort through Make-A-Wish®
and Craig’s wish granting volunteers who offered hope, strength and joy to her young son.
Craig’s abiding love for firefighting and fire trucks shines even when he is in the hospital. “He loves to watch the emergency service vehicles from the window of his hospital room,” Kim explains. “We knew he would wish for something related to this.” With much enthusiasm, Craig wished to have a firehouse play station – one that he could use to “fight fires” and protect those around him. The family created the countdown calendar, anticipating the arrival of his new fire station. Kim says it gave her son an incredible moment to look forward to.
When the big day arrived, Kim says Craig’s wish granters, other Make-A-Wish volunteers, family members and neighbors showed up to the family’s home to help celebrate Craig’s brave fight against his illness. The wish granting team told Craig to remain in the front of the house – a task not too difficult for Craig and sister, Lily as they played with their toys under the hot August sun. All of a sudden, they heard what sounded like a loud parade complete with sirens and honking. “Craig looked up in amazement to see a line of fire trucks and emergency service vehicles heading toward him,” Kim recounts. “I think he was in shock when he realized they were there because of him.” The Pittsford Volunteer Fire Department heard about Craig’s wish and wanted to help enhance his wish for a firehouse play station by showing their support. “Six fire trucks stopped in front of the house and out walked dozens of firemen and firewomen with presents and big smiles to greet us. It was incredible.
After sitting in the front seat of the fire truck and waving hello to the station’s costumed Dalmatian, Craig led his visitors to the backyard where his very own fire station was awaiting him. A crowd of family, friends, neighbors and media watched as Craig entered his fire station for the first time. “He ran right up to the hose and used it to put out a fire,” Kim tell us. “As a mother, watching the joy on his face was incredibly emotional.” Mom adds that her son kept saying ‘this is cool’ throughout the entire experience. “While our 3-year-old thinks his wish is pretty cool, we know how much more it is than that. It represents life, a future, love, hope and support.” Craig says he’s not sure if he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up, but he is sure that he wants to ‘fight fires’ from his house, and help others in the meantime.
Volunteer Wish Granters: Barbie Ruffell & Chris Calabrese