The zoom of a car whizzing by is all it takes to light up the face of nine-year-old Michael. Whether he is playing racing games with his older siblings, watching race videos on YouTube, or enjoying Disney-Pixar’s Cars once again, his love of cars really keeps his motor running. Even after his b-cell lymphoma diagnosis in 2015, Michael found comfort in his room surrounded by all things Lightning McQueen.
Michael’s battle began with several chemotherapy treatments, yet his condition continued to worsen. He attended first grade, but limited mobility and inability to speak caused him to miss a lot of school. Still Michael kept smiling.
He was shy when he first met with his volunteer wish granters, Edgar and Frankie, but it only took a few minutes of playing video games for them to become fast friends. (See the impact Michael had on Edgar in the video below!) It was also very clear that his one true wish would include cars. Michael wished to go to Disneyland’s® Cars Land to meet Lightning McQueen. He dreamed of zooming through the park in his wheelchair!
In the spring of 2017, Michael learned that his wish was coming true during NASCAR weekend in Las Vegas where Make-A-Wish® Board Member Jodie Sacco and Dream Racing played a big role in his special reveal.
Soon Michael and his family were off to Disneyland® ! Where did they go first? The Cars ride, of course! It was everything Michael hoped it would be, and he requested to ride it over and over again. Michael’s parents were overjoyed to see him so happy and able to be just like all the other kids again.
Disneyland® may be known as The Happiest Place on Earth, but on this day it was the most magical. Michael’s condition requires him to take a lot of medication and he is usually very sensitive to the heat. He even spent most of his NASCAR wish reveal in the shade. But this was not the case at Cars Land. His family was careful not to leave the hotel room without a backpack full of medicine in case Michael started feeling the pangs of his illness—but he didn’t need even one dose! He was so captivated by the sights and sounds of a wish come true that his medicine stayed unopened throughout the entire trip. Michael even got out of his wheelchair to walk to characters for photos!
For one special day, Michael was able to forget about his illness and enjoy time with his family.
Now that’s the power of a wish.