Sometimes there is no one closer than a sibling. Unlike friends, to be a sibling means to enter into a never ending contract; this contract sometimes builds a brotherhood, or a sisterhood, but ultimately this contract makes a family. Siblings are forever, they share hopes, fears, and dreams. But, for Daniel, watching his younger brother fight cancer was devastating. Before Luke’s diagnosis, he and Luke acted like typical siblings – squabbling and haggling each other – but after Luke’s cancer diagnosis, things became different. Daniel and Luke became closer than ever and they now share many of the same interests, despite a bit of an age gap between them. After all, Daniel is a typical teen, he enjoys playing sports, running, and hanging out with friends. But he truly cherishes spending time with his family, with his brothers, especially with Luke.
Daniel describes his relationship with his brother as close. Perhaps closer than with anyone else in the world. Daniel states, “Before Luke was diagnosed, we were not close I am sad to admit. However, after a long three years of Luke battling cancer, I would consider Luke and myself to be closer than ever before.”
For Daniel, the night that he and his older brother learned from their mother that Luke had cancer, was perhaps one of the hardest moments for Daniel, for his brothers, and for his family. However, somehow Daniel already knew something was wrong with his brother. Call it sibling intuition, but Daniel knew something was wrong. He’d notice Luke simply didn’t seem to be the “Luke” he knew. When the diagnosis came, it was a catastrophic revelation. Despite somehow knowing that something was wrong, hearing that his brother had cancer was the last thing Daniel wanted to hear. Hearing the news left Daniel with questions, and when talking about that night, Daniel stated, “I froze and did not know what to do or how to react.” What could he do for his younger brother? How could he step in and save him? Despite these questions, Daniel’s family would do whatever it took to support Luke.
The truth is that it is never easy watching a love one endure medical hardship. There’s this feeling of helplessness, knowing that despite how much you want to help, how much you want to change the situation, the only thing you can do is be there to support them. Cancer is an invisible bully, the effects are visible, but cancer isn’t a school bully, or a rowdy neighbor. Older brothers can be protective, they stand by their siblings, they make bullies disappear, but Daniel and his siblings couldn’t make this bully go away. So, they stood beside their brother – through every treatment, every hospital visit, day in and day out – and when it was time to step back from all of the negativity of Luke’s diagnosis and experience something truly wonderful, they too stood by Luke’s side as his wish came true.
When he heard about Luke’s wish, when Daniel learned that Make-A-Wish could make it come true, Daniel was in awe. He thought about other wish kids he’d heard about and seen on the television. It turned out that Daniel had watched other kids and their sports related wishes on ESPN through the My Wish Series. However, Daniel saw Luke’s wish as unique, and he wanted nothing more than to see the look on his younger brother’s face as his inspiring wish unfolded.
Luke’s wish to meet the USA Men’s Soccer Team turned into a surreal weekend. A weekend where Daniel and his family were able to stand beside idols Luke and his brothers shared through their love of sports. It was an experience that was beyond their wildest of dreams. Daniel shared Luke’s amazement of the USA Soccer Team. Getting to meet them was incredible for Luke. As the coaches, the players, the staff, were so down to earth. The family was filled with a sense of awe and wonderment. For Daniel, he couldn’t be happier watching Luke play with members of the USA Soccer team, and for him, it was incredible to see Tim Ream, a player he had played as in the FIFA video games, in real life. According to Daniel, “Being Luke’s sibling during the wish allowed me to escape everything my family and I have been through the past few years. I was able to forget all of the times I saw my family upset and Luke struggling.” Luke’s wish became a life-changing event for the whole family, and despite early nerves, Luke, Daniel, and the rest of their family were able relax and bask in the moment. Luke’s wish was an unforgettable day. It was a gift for Luke, and the wish experience was according to Daniel, “An unforgettable weekend that my family will truly cherish, forever .”
Since the wish, Daniel spends even more time with Luke. They spend time talking about video games, they talk about sports, and they are brothers whose bond will never be broken.
Today, Luke is doing very well and continues to share his wish experience with all who will listen. He has also decided to “wish it forward” and has helped the local Missouri chapter raise funds to help grant future wishes to local children battling critical illnesses. Luke’s parents have become ambassadors for the mission of Make-A-Wish and they often speak about Luke’s journey and what it was like to see their son’s one true wish unfold.
As for Daniel and his other brothers, they too have decided to give back and have organized and hosted multiple fundraising efforts at their school through the Kids For Wish Kids® program to provide the same joy and happiness that Luke felt, to other children facing overwhelming odds.
We invite you to share in the vision of Make-A-Wish and help us grant the wish of every eligible child. Click HERE to learn how you can transform lives, one wish at a time.