Little did we know that in the Fall of 2002, answering a hospital call light would create a legacy of joy that would touch thousands of seriously ill, hospitalized children across the United States.
On the other side of that call light sat a sweet 8-year-old boy named Josh who had just been admitted to the pediatric floor for treatment of a rare and aggressive type of liver cancer. His tumor caused his abdomen to swell into the size of a volleyball, and as nurses, we knew his journey would be a challenging one.
Josh’s days in the hospital soon turned into weeks. Even during his most difficult and painful days, Josh, an old soul, revealed that it was little things like a field trip to the hospital gift shop that proved to be the greatest adventure and provided comfort and distraction.
Tethered to his chemo and oxygen tank with two of us wheeling him, Josh headed straight to where he wanted to be – the candy display. His big brown eyes lit up, and even though he could not eat, just holding a colorful pack of Starburst brought him happiness.
Josh’s joy in such moments was palpable but mild in comparison to his devotion to the San Francisco Giants. Therefore, our medical team pitched in to decorate his room in orange and black memorabilia and cheered with him as the Giants inched their way to the World Series.
As the weeks progressed, so did Josh’s tumor, and his spirit began to wane. That’s when we decided to attempt to bring the Giants to Josh. A little serendipity and an elementary school directory led Dusty Baker, the manager of the Giants, to Josh’s ICU bedside.
Josh smiled for the first time in weeks, and it was that powerful moment, a “little wish,” that launched our mission to bring “little wishes” to other hospitalized children fighting big battles.
A few days later, Josh passed away. Fall 2022 marks 20 years since Josh began a beautiful ripple of 21,000 moments of joy and counting.
Laura Euphrat and Joanne Davantes, two of Josh’s nurses, founded Little Wishes in Josh’s memory. In 2003, Little Wishes was established as a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.