The challenge of a race is an exciting feeling for 12-year-old Joseph
. When the siren goes off, and the flag flashes down, he puts the pedal to the metal. “Arcade games are so much fun,” exclaims the energetic teenager. Joseph who goes by the nickname Joey entered into middle school with challenges not many children his age have to face. His mom, Joanne says it all started with horrendous back pain, resulting in a struggle to walk. Trusting her maternal instincts, Joanne admitted Joey into the hospital immediately, where doctors diagnosed him with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “From there, he started aggressive chemotherapy,” explains Mom. “Joseph is still pushing through and undergoing chemotherapy treatment to prevent the spread.” Joey desired normalcy and his daily routine without the worry of cancer. He says when Make-A-Wish®
came to him with the promise of fulfilling his one wish, he gained a sense of hope and excitement. “I wished to have racing arcade games, just like the ones you would see in an arcade!”
Leading up to his wish, Joey’s wish granting volunteers organized for the delivery of two racing games hooked up to one another. The “giant orange machines”, as Joey describes them, can be played by a pair of people, including Joey’s siblings, parents and friends. “There was a sense of permanency with this wish and it’s something he will be able to enjoy forever,” Joanne adds. Joey’s eyes lit up when his new toys were delivered to the family’s home and taken down to the “Man Cave”. Joey says this space with the addition of his new arcade games offers him a much needed respite from the world of illness, hospitals and his doctors – a place where he can let his imagination take hold and dream free of worry.
According to his mom, Joey has improved leaps and bounds since his diagnosis. “I admire his courage and strength,” says Joanne. Even though he is still fighting the brave fight against cancer, Joey says it’s experiences like Make-A-Wish that keep his spirits up. “It’s amazing. I don’t think I could put into words the amount of joy that this wish has brought to our family. It’s above and beyond my expectations,”
Joanne adds that the sound of her son’s laughter as he challenges his sibling opponents to a race fills her heart with so much happiness. “There’s so much noise and cheering coming from that ‘Man Cave’ and the traffic of people just flows in and out of that room,” she says. The family looks forward to throwing Joey a party in the coming months once the room is fully decorated. Joey jokes, “I still have to add more Patriots gear!” Joanne adds, “It will be a party to celebrate his accomplishments and all that Make-A-Wish has done for my Joey.”