Make-A-Wish Ambassadors

2017 Ambassadors

Sam Caswell (New Hampshire)

Sam Caswell was born with a rare genetic disease called MPS1/Hurler Syndrome. He was diagnosed at eight months and told life expectancy would be two to five years, but due to medical breakthroughs, the best sister, and perseverance, he will be turning 21 on July 5th! Sam received life saving bone marrow from his 6 year old sister Jenna shortly after his first birthday. This was a treatment but not a cure for his disease. He was the star basketball dribbler during his years in Special Olympics and graduated from Bedford High School with honors. He currently attends Manchester Community College where he is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Senate, and President of the Gaming Club. He plans to transfer to UNH Manchester after receiving his Associates to major in Communications/Film, hoping to be a movie director! Sam has had 22 surgeries and although he deals with orthopedic limitations and pain he faces every day with a positive attitude and a smile on his face. Attending the Make a Wish Hockey Classic is one of the highlights of every year for him!

 

Joshua Barnes (Vermont)

Joshua Barnes is a 13 year old boy who is four months post-heart-transplant. Josh was diagnosed with HLHS or Hypo-plastic left heart syndrome while in utero. This essentially means that the left side of his heart had not developed fully and had poor function. Joshua had his first surgery only a few days after birth, and had multiple surgeries in his first years of life. At 10 years old, Joshua went into congestive heart failure. He spent a month and a half at Boston Children’s Hospital where he was listed for transplant. When Josh was stable, he was able to go home and live life while waiting for a heart. It was during this time that the doctors encouraged Joshua to consider Make-A-Wish. Joshua’s passion is farming, so he chose to go to the Claas factory in Germany. What a gift it was to see him enjoying his favorite farm company and seeing the sights as a family. All the worries and cares of the past years were let go of and we enjoyed such a special time together. Make-A-Wish made everything run so smoothly and just blessed our family with the adventure of a lifetime!! We will forever be grateful to Jenny and Shannon, our wish granters, for crafting the most amazing memories we have as a family.

Earlier this year, after years of waiting, Josh got “the call”. His life was changed with his 10th open heart surgery, a heart transplant. He has thrived with the new heart, his hospitalization was quick, and he loves his new heart and the energy it has brought him. As a family, we give our most grateful thanks for taking our minds off a very difficult time in our lives and making such special memories and moments for our family. It was a vacation we will never forget!