|Posted by Mandy Young on August 21, 2015 at 10:25 AM|
Y’all I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this coming weekend! If you follow me on social media you might have seen that I am now a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and this weekend I will be throwing my first wish reveal party! I will explain all of that next weekend after I throw the party so be on the lookout for that next week. I realized in all of this that in the past I’ve talked about how I was a “wish” child but I’ve never really told you what I wished for.
For those of you who don’t know exactly what a wish foundation does, let me explain. Wish foundations are geared to making terminally/seriously ill children’s dream come true. So if the child wants to be a cowboy, they will give him authentic cowboy clothes, roping and riding lessons all at an amazing dude ranch. If a little girl wants to meet her favorite Disney princess she’ll get to go to Disney World (or Disney Land or maybe a Disney Cruise) where she’ll meet her fairytale best friend along with other princesses she may have dreamed to meet. Or maybe a teenager wants to go on a shopping spree, the foundation makes it happen. Really in the mind of a child the options are endless.
When I was 9 years old (when I lost my leg) I was approached by a wish foundation about having my wish granted. And at 9 years old most girls are dreaming of being a princess or playing on a beach somewhere…but there was only one thing that I wanted and it had nothing to do with any of that. There was only one thing that my little heart would jump with excitement over - hands down I wanted to meet New Kids On The Block. Just a little side note: When I lost my leg and I was in a coma for two weeks (no one knowing if I would ever wake up) my parents played my NKOTB tapes over and over in my ICU room hoping that would wake me from my slumber. I was even moved to a larger ICU room at one point because of all the NKOTB paraphernalia that filled my room. That’s right, I was a super fan!
The day had finally arrived that I was going to meet the boys that held my heart. I was most excited to meet Jonathan Knight. He was the one that I would take markers and draw hearts around his head. Every girl I knew was totally head over hills for Donnie; but not me. My heart pitter patted for Jonathan but following close in second was Joey. The wish foundation put my family up in a hotel where we got ready for the concert. My sister and I dressed in our 90’s best….white tank tops, jean skirts, Keds with bright, neon socks, a hat & suspenders that were covered in NKOTB buttons! We were decked out and ready to go! At first we were supposed to go backstage before the concert for our meet and greet and then enjoy the concert. But the guys never showed up and we were told they were running late so we would meet them afterwards. We went to our seats and screamed our little hearts out, danced, sang and I’m sure being the fan girl that I am I cried a little too from all the excitement. Right before the encore we were escorted backstage to fulfill my dream. But again the boys were a no show. We were then told to go to the hotel where the guys were staying and they would meet us there. Once again a no show. My 9 year old heart was completely broken. All my little preteen heart wanted was to meet the guys I loved so much. But it was not meant to be. Even though the concert was awesome, my dream had been shattered.
A couple of weeks later my mom got a call from someone at the hospital where I had been an inpatient for months when I had my leg amputated. Mom came to my room and said there was someone at the hospital that wanted to meet me and that we needed to get ready and go. Being the medical mystery that I am, doctors are the only people that ever want to meet me so in my head I’m thinking I’m going to meet a new doctor. We get to the hospital and for some reason we were waiting in a hallway. Being very comfortable in hospitals (since growing up they were more like a first home than a second) my sister, cousin and I were playing around just waiting for this doctor. All of the sudden this large group of people round the corner; the sea parts and standing in front of me is Mike Seaver (aka Kirk Cameron, but I didn’t know his real name then I just knew him from Growing Pains so his name was Mike to me). I was in shock. It wasn’t a doctor that wanted to meet me it was Kirk. Come to find out the wish foundation that had tried to make my wish come true had also brought Kirk to the hospital to meet the kids in the hospital. They told him about me and what had happened and he asked if I could come back to the hospital and meet him. They called my parents and told them what was going on but my parents didn’t tell me who wanted to meet me just in case another NKOTB moment was about to happen. They didn’t want to put my fragile little heart through that again. But not this time…he was there….standing right in front of me and even though he tried to talk to me no words could come out of my mouth. He didn’t mind he stood there and took pictures with me.
You wanna know what’s awesome about this meeting? 25 years later we are still friends with the Cameron family. After meeting him at the hospital that day, his mom invited us to come to California to see tapings of Growing Pains and Full House (his sister Candace played DJ Tanner on Full House and will be starring in the new Fuller House reclaiming her role as DJ for Netflix, Jan 2016).
My family was then invited to spend a week with Kirk and his family at Camp Firefly, a camp he created for critically ill children in 1990 where he chooses 5 children from the hundreds he meets at children’s hospitals across the country each year to basically go on the most wonderful vacation imaginable. After that week, our families became close and today, the Cameron family is like my own - I love the entire family so much!
Wanna hear the God part of the story? For my 30th birthday my parents gave me a plane ticket to LA! I was so excited! Then I opened Candace’s (Cameron Bure) gift and it was NKOTB/BSB tickets for the L.A. show for when I was going to be there! The night of the concert we danced, cried and sang our hearts out. And after the show we went backstage. As our group walked down the hallway, the first person I see was none other than Jonathan Knight. All of the sudden I was 9 years old again. My eyes filled with tears, I mean come on, I had been waiting 21 years for this moment. He ran up to Candace and Andrea (who you might know better as Kimmy Gibbler from Full House) and gave them hugs. Then they went around our circle introducing everyone. We also met Donnie and Joey (but never Danny or Jordan). But during that night it hit me. If my wish would have come true 21 years before, all it would have been was handshakes, hugs and some pictures and it would have been over. But because that night never happened and we met Kirk and the Camerons, my wish was coming true with who else but a Cameron! As hard as it was to understand when I was 9, it now all made sense, it was all in God’s timing. My eyes filled with tears again figuring out the connection and how awesome God is! And I’m sure you’re wondering, did I tell Jonathan, Joey or Donnie about my wish and my broken heart at 9 years old? The answer is no. It wasn’t the time or place; I was just thankful that it was happening then.
But let’s rewind back 25 years again and let me finish the rest of that story. Since my wish was never technically granted (Kirk’s mom was responsible for bringing us to LA) another wish foundation heard about me and they offered to grant me a wish. As we filled out the paperwork, we saw three blanks on the questionnaire where you write down what your 3 top wishes are. (Honestly I don’t remember what all three of them were now I just remember what I got.) But once we filled out the paperwork I had no idea what or when I was going to have my wish revealed to me. One day I had gone to school and my mom was going to check me out early because it was Jump Rope for Heart day. A school fund raiser where you had to get sponsors and jump rope your heart out. Well I couldn’t do that, I had just lost my leg and I could barely walk on crutches at this point so since I was going to be sitting on the sidelines mom said she would check me out early. Once we were home like any 9 year old does, I walked in the living room dropped my book bag and headed for the couch. As I start to sit down mom asked me to get my book bag and take it to my room. Being the precious sweet and obedient child I am, I did as my mother asked. I opened the door to my room and I froze. There was a TV camera, reporter, and a fairy Godmother standing there waiting on me and capturing my reaction to my new fantasy bedroom! When I left that morning my room was neon wicker furniture, a day bed, posters of New Kids all over my walls and stuffed animals hanging in a net shelf in the corner of the room. My dream room was completely different, it was for a big girl. There was a canopy bed with a porcelain doll propped on the pillows. A dresser with a desk attached. On the desk was a computer (and this was before people had computers in their house, especially not in their bedrooms). Plus my favorite part a TV/VCR combo…in my room! The colors were mostly white with light pink and soft blue accents. Seriously I was in so much shock you could have knocked me over with a feather. The reporter kept trying to talk to me but like the Mike Seaver experience nothing would come out. I was just trying to take it all in. I still have the wand the Fairy Godmother gave me that day. It has a silver glitter star on top of a white stick. When our house fire happened last year and it was clean out day. There was a dumpster outside underneath my bedroom window. The firemen busted out the window to my room so they could get inside to put out the fire. So when the cleanout crew came in they would just get an arm load and throw in out the window to fall in the dumpster. One day I walked over to the dumpster just to see all of my belongings destroyed inside. But lying on the ground, all by itself, was my magic wand. I grabbed it, cleaned the soot off of it and displayed it in my hotel room.
So if you’re keeping count, I kind of got two/three wishes; it just took 21 years and God intervening for the first wish to happen. Although I do believe it was God’s plan all along, I just had to wait out His timing. Oh how true that is in every aspect of my life. God’s timing is always perfect.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."