Now an ambitious and creative twenty-something working as a product manager at a well-known e-commerce company, Evan describes his unique experience and transition from wish child to wish granter.
Diagnosed with Lupus at 14 years old, Evan was referred to Make-A-Wish® Oregon by his doctor. Although he missed most of his freshman year of high school, when Evan recalls his wish – to have a shopping spree – he grins ear to ear. “I got the full treatment: the limo ride, the red carpet, my family and two wish granters were there too.”
Evan’s shopping spree took place about 10 years ago at Circuit City. He jokes that the technology, games and devices are probably outdated now, but says the experience was much more valuable than the physical items. The joy and happiness of that day was an incredibly special moment in his life. It helped him come to terms with his disease, something he didn’t fully realize until he returned to Make-A-Wish Oregon as a volunteer later in life.
In 2014, after graduating from the University of Oregon, where he majored in theater and English, Evan learned that an acquaintance was involved with Make-A-Wish. He says that it was her passion that sparked his interest in getting involved. From there, he describes it as “a snowball effect” in terms of giving back.
As a wish granter, Evan’s experiences have been nothing less than rewarding. He enjoys connecting with wish children and their families and has a deep understanding of what it’s like to be in their shoes. If it’s appropriate and the sentiment of sharing his own personal story makes sense, he does, but for him, “it’s all about the kiddo and making his [or her] wish a magical one.”
Evan can’t help but elaborate on the wishes he has helped grant, laughing as he explains the creative imaginations that the kids have when they pick their wish. It is clear, however, that Evan has a much more profound understanding of what a wish really means:
“A wish is a tricky balance. It’s like a Venn diagram. On one side, you have the comfort zone, and the wish is a wonderful distraction from facing the reality of the disease. On the other side, the wish is extremely scary because in a way it forces the child and family to confront the disease head on. The overlap is where the magic happens.”
It wasn’t until he was on the other side of the fence, as a wish granter, that Evan fully understood the value and power of a wish. “Becoming a wish granter made it full circle.”