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Navy Wish Gets David’s Life Off to New Start

David wished to meet a Navy bomb squad PHOTO: Trevor Stolebarger

Giving back to Make-A-Wish meant a lot to me.

"I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this."

These words were a sign of David’s eroding determination. It’s hard to blame him. The treatments for fighting the five-pound cancerous tumor near his liver were painful and frightening. His immune system was devastated ­– even a minor scrape could be deadly.

David needed someone or something to restore his optimism.

The Kindness of Everyday People

That’s where you stepped in. Your support for Make-A-Wish® made it possible for David to have a wish experience. His one true wish was to meet a Navy explosive ordinance disposal, or EOD, team – a Navy bomb squad.

David’s wish has its roots in a Navy versus Army football game; at halftime, he watched an EOD team demonstrate its skills. Even though that was in third grade at the time, he already had an affinity for understanding how things work. He could just imagine the inner workings of the bomb squad’s equipment.

His wish may have surprised his volunteer wish granters. But they connected with Navy personnel to create an unforgettable experience for David.

Many Paths Lead to Wish Kids

David’s wish led him and his family to San Diego, where EOD Mobile Unit 11 is stationed. Just by coincidence, a few of the Mobile Unit 11 personnel had family members who had wish experiences.

"My cousin had leukemia, and Make-A-Wish took him to meet his favorite baseball team," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class Christopher Malak. "Being on the other side of that experience and being able to do this for someone else really means a lot to me."

"Make-A-Wish brought us to Nashville, Tennessee, from Colorado so my brother could meet his favorite band," said Lt. j.g. Kevin Sheffler. "When I heard that David was coming, and I'd get a chance to be a part of it, there was no hesitation. Being able to give back to an organization that did so much for my family, as well as meet a kid who even knows what EOD is, let alone has a passion for it, that's incredible."

Those connections to Make-A-Wish led to an incredible experience for David.

"I thought I was going to meet them and hang around on their base," David said. "I was surprised to get to do so much with them! We did training missions, went through an underground tunnel with a bunch of secret passages, and cut wires to diffuse fake bombs –that was my favorite part. Everything we did was really fun!"

Optimism for the Future

This was a glimpse of the old David – a welcome sight for his entire family. David was already in remission before the wish, and his wish signaled a new beginning.

And that’s the lasting gift you can give to Make-A-Wish kids.

  • David learns on the job
    PHOTO: Trevor Stolebarger

  • At the controls of bomb disposal equipment
    PHOTO: Trevor Stolebarger

  • Suiting up for safety
    PHOTO: Trevor Stolebarger

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David models his new gear from the Navy bomb disposal squad David models his new gear
PHOTO: Trevor Stolebarger

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June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

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