In critical illnesses, a spark of hope can change everything

A child’s fight against a critical illness is not only physically exhausting — it is emotionally traumatic. A spark of hope can change everything. For wish kid Tyler, this hope was found through the life-changing power of a wish.

Tyler was in and out of the hospital and emergency rooms throughout his high school career due to his blood disorder. At the time, Tyler felt depressed and didn’t want to go to school or hang out with his friends. One of the things he did to pass the time was think about his passions — fishing and his dream car, a Subaru WRX.

Tyler loves mechanical engineering and is especially interested in learning about how cars work. When Tyler was 17, he wished to go shark fishing in Florida — a journey that empowered him to experience life beyond illness and build strength and joy. After his wish, his views on life and his future completely changed. His hope was restored and he had renewed ambitions to fight for a brighter future. Due to this renewed motivation, Tyler graduated from high school. His wish journey didn’t end there.

Through the Subaru Share the Love® Event, Make-A-Wish® has partnerships with local Subaru retailers such as Lithia Subaru of Oregon City. Make-A-Wish Oregon and Lithia Subaru of Oregon City wanted to help Tyler’s passion for Subaru rally racing cars come to life.

Now 19 years old, Tyler was invited to Lithia Subaru of Oregon City during the 2021 Subaru Share the Love Event to share his incredible story. The team at Subaru gave him a behind-the-scenes tour of the service area. There was even a Subaru WRX onsite that Tyler was able to drive — an unforgettable experience that filled him with excitement.

When Tyler triumphantly exited the vehicle, he beamed with pride and joy, knowing that he didn’t stall out once. By the end of the day, Tyler and the Subaru team had built such a close bond that they invited him to apply for a summer job at Lithia Subaru of Oregon City for 2022.

Subaru of America, Inc. has donated over $29 million to Make-A-Wish and helped grant more than 3,000 wishes, like Tyler’s, through the Subaru Share the Love Event. A 2022 Wish Impact Study conducted by Make-A-Wish found that parents, former wish recipients and doctors agree that the wish experience:

  • increases hope, strength and self-esteem;
  • serves as a coping mechanism during treatment;
  • brings families together and strengthens relationships;
  • assists in overcoming traumatic stress, hopelessness and loneliness; and
  • leads to better health outcomes.

Tyler’s story shows that hope is restored with a wish. With this hope, Tyler found light in the darkness of his situation. The fear of the unknown was replaced with exciting possibilities for the future. Because of a community of supporters and partnerships such as the one with Subaru of America, Make-A-Wish is able to create hope for many more families and make more wishes come true.

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