If it’s true that we rise by lifting others, Nevada Wish has cemented its status as perpetually towering above The Silver State. This altruistic organization grants a multitude of wishes to deserving children who are embroiled in battles of a lifetime against cancer and other childhood illnesses. Much of their work happens under the radar, with only those directly involved being in-the-know. I was fortunate to be privy to a recent wish granted, as it involved a close friend’s son.
Jan’s son Jacob has battled neuroblastoma for the last two years, having been diagnosed at age six. Now, at age eight, his life revolves around a punishing combination of high-dose chemotherapy and radiotherapy. When he was referred to Nevada Wish, they were fast to answer the call and bring Jacob’s wish to fruition. The month was March, less than two months from one of the biggest sporting events in Las Vegas, the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross Finals, held at the acclaimed Sam Boyd Stadium.
As an avid fan of motocross racing, Jacob’s humble hope was to attend the event. With extended time off work and hordes of medical bills doing a number on the single mom’s budget, Jan had to tell Jacob that attending the event was not in the cards again this year. That is, until Nevada Wish became involved. Armed with the knowledge that Jacob was such a diehard fan, of course his wish to watch the adrenaline-inducing racing would materialize, but in their trademark style of creating larger-than-life encounters, Nevada Wish did much more than outfit Jacob with tickets.
Obligations are abundant in the week leading up to Supercross Finals, so Jacob’s surprise began the weekend before, courtesy of some of Supercross’ biggest names. Jacob was surprised at home by professional racers, hauling a slew of remarkable surprises for him, including a 2106 KX 65 Kawasaki dirt bike. Along with this impressive new set of wheels, that would replace his aging 50cc dirt scooter, Jacob received top-of-the-line gear, including a youth Leatt neck brace and Alpinestars boots.
With not so much as a pair of tickets to see Supercross in the budget, the unbelievable gift of a new dirt bike and high-end gear shocked both Jacob and Jan. The thought of having such a quality machine to command after he was well enough to ride regularly again caused tears to sting his eyes, despite the fact some of the sport’s most influential athletes were dotted around his living room. Before long, the emotional gratitude presented itself in the form of a wide smile as Jacob was told he would be taken to a practice track, miles from his home, to log some laps on his new 65cc powerhouse.
His energy level dictated that he take it easy, but Jacob’s laps with his heroes left him breathless in another way. Never did he and Jan think Nevada Wish would open him up to such an impactful experience. After an afternoon of riding, he had a week to ready himself for VIP seats at the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross Finals. Once the night arrived, unbeknownst to Jacob, he would be more than a spectator. During pre-race events, he was given a tour by a Supercross rep and even did a track walk with one of the race teams.
A young man with a big heart was able to breathe in the atmosphere while tromping through the same soil his favorite racers would soon be battling on, during the Supercross season’s final action-packed installment. When he was invited to be on the track during opening ceremonies, Jan said Jacob was rendered speechless. Nevada Wish, along with phenomenal support from the Supercross organization, had already done so much for Jacob, the final touch was nearly overwhelming. Jacob was center stage as fans cheered in every direction during the awe-inspiring opening ceremonies.
One of the most notable aspects of the adventures created by Nevada Wish is the upswing in Jacob’s spirits since everything took place. He continues to make great strides in treatment, though he does suffer strings of days when he must stay inside due to a decrease in energy because of his treatment regimen. Doctors are optimistic he will soon be a regular rider, on his shiny new Kawasaki, with the rigors of his illness a distant memory.
Until that time comes, the memory of his Supercross experience inspires him to persevere, even when the battle feels bigger than he is. As a friend of the family, I am forever grateful for Nevada Wish and their steadfast determination in granting wishes. They prove that giving is not only about making a contribution, it is also about making a huge difference when hope is hard to come by. The enthusiasm put forth by their team is unrivaled, as so many deserving children are so deeply impacted by the organization’s generosity.