Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Raising a Star

Last night, I got to see a “Star Raising”. This is an interesting little ceremony that celebrates the completion of a child’s wish by the “Make a Wish” Foundation here in Utah. The building they use has this suspended sculpture in the ceiling of their great hall, and it’s filled with these dangling stars, one for each child’s wish they’ve granted. The child being celebrated (Jacob’s CE friend Adam, in this case), gets to tug on a string to raise his star up, then we all have ice cream.

So, before the ceremony, I started wandering around the building and I noticed that there were these framed pictures all around. They were photos of a lot of the kids that have had their wishes fulfilled, and then a paragraph about their story. It would tell about the illness the child has (or had), and then about the wish.

I was drawn to these stories like a moth to the flame. It was a very intense moment for me. Jacob, because of his Cystic Fibrosis, qualifies as a wish kid. As I read each story, I would be excited to see what they wished for and what they got, then I would start to cry as I realized why each child gets a wish in the first place. And it would hit me hard when the story would mention that this child or that child had since passed away.

Now, Cystic Fibrosis is interesting. If you maintain the treatments, you can live a long time. The current life expectancy of a CF patient is well into the 40’s, if I remember right. It used to be a bit childhood killer. Now, someone can live a full life. But, it can still kill.

And with each story I read, I was reminded of that.

So, I’d tear up in my eyes, and I’d walk away. I shouldn’t be reading these, I’d tell myself. But I kept being drawn back. I turned into quite the recluse, wanting to hide in my own thoughts while everyone else was celebrating Adam’s wish.

Some of the wishes the kids chose touched me more than others. One kid asked for a harp, another for a drum set. One child asked for golf lessons from Tiger Woods. And, of course, about every third one was for the trip to Disneyland.

A lot of them wished to visit or to do something with a celebrity, but one really touched me. He asked to visit the prophet, Gordon B Hinkley. The story said that they met, and Pres Hinkley gave him a special blessing.

What an experience that would be. And to think that this kid could have almost anything he could ask for, and that he asked for that.

I find it interesting that most charities deal in necessities. Research, direct services, paying for treatments, schools, books, etc. I think that’s good and that’s valid. I was amazed to think that this organization provides none of that. These kids are very sick, most are dying, so they give them something to live for. They go straight to the soul.

It reminds me of the song lyric, “I just wanna live while I’m alive!”

Mark Hansen

A post script: Things are progressing nicely on Chapter and Verse. I've been able to play a number of playtest games myself, and more and more other playtesters are joining up! Come check out

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