In every life we have certain benchmarks in which distinct events can start drastic changes in our lives. Sometime in the summer of my 14th year, I was diagnosed with Wegner’s Disease. I found this out when I was rushed into the hospital in critical condition, a week before I was going to take a black belt exam at my dojo. I had been feeling a bit fatigued for months now, and was sent to the hospital by my sister in the first place because I was coughing up blood. I was very sick, but all I could think about at the time was how soon I could get better so I could make it to my exam on time. I was so childish at the time; I didn’t even consider that I was near death, and that there were worse things that could happen than missing an exam. Since then, understandably a lot has changed. Both externally, and on a more personal level. I have had picc lines, and done peritoneal dialysis, graduated high school and community college, and went on to university with a brand new kidney. Looking back at high school now, I went through so much of it in a blur at the time. Now that I am in a calmer place, I am sure that I couldn’t have been so successful without the help of family, friends, and the medical teams who helped with my condition. So much has happened to me in these past few years. In fact, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what I can say I have learned from my past circumstances. I can’t say I have had any sudden epiphanies. For me, all of the insight and wisdom I have gleaned from those hard years has been a slow but meaningful process. Before I got diagnosed, I was sure I felt content with the way everything was. I had never felt extremely happy for how nice my life was before, but I had never felt the depths of sadness or hopelessness yet. In other words, I was still growing up, and with that, my capacity to empathize. What I can appreciate the most from my circumstances is gaining the fullness of emotions, because I believe that only after feeling intense sadness and hardship, you can also gain the capacity to feel intense happiness and hope. Hope that you have the inner strength to make the best of your situation, with all that you have. The pains that many Make-a-Wish Candidates endured are often more than most adults face in our own lifetimes. That’s why I believe Make-a-Wish is such an important gift for the life of a child. The spectrum of emotions they feel is very complex, and can be felt acutely, which is an important experience that most people do not feel until they mature later in life. I can think of no other group of people who can so fully appreciate the gift of happiness, as they accomplished a variety of challenging efforts during their transition to childhood to young adulthood. We could gain meaningful insight from learning about their unique perspectives on any aspiration that Make-a-Wish can help them achieve.