Ever since Tim was just a little boy, he has dreamed of serving his country by joining the military. His cousin, Anthony, had joined the Marines and would often share stories of being in the service, which inspired Tim’s desire to be a Marine himself when he was old enough. Just before his graduation, Tim was devastated to learn that his diagnosis of cystic fibrosis prevents him enlisting and serving in the military. Struggling with being unable to fulfill his dream of joining the military and dealing with challenging health complications, Tim’s wish came at the time he needed it most. It was easy for Tim to determine his wish; he knew he wanted to realize his dream of serving his country as a Marine. Soon, Tim was headed off to have his wish granted to become a Marine.
Even at the very start of his wish, Tim began to experience Marine life just like all other recruits. Upon arrival, Tim immediately stepped out on to the yellow footprints, the spot where all new recruits stand as they arrive on base for the first time. Tim got his first dose of orders from a drill instructor, and began his processing. He filled out paper work, made a phone call to his dad reporting that he arrived for training, and received his gear.
“Everything about the wish was awesome, but the highlight for me was when he first walked out in his fatigues,” shares his mom, Tracy. “If we left right then, my dream would have been fulfilled. When he walked out – that was just it. It took my breath away. When I look back at pictures it still brings tears to my eyes.”
In the days that followed, Timothy experienced firsthand what basic training recruits go through to become Marines. Timothy participated in hand-to-hand combat training, swim tests, land navigation and completed obstacle courses, like the repel tower. In addition to participating in training exercises, Timothy and his family also got to tour several of the facilities on base, see fighter jets up close, observed military dog training and even got to fly a flight simulator. Even though Tim was battling a pulmonary infection for two days during his wish, he accomplished each challenge with enthusiasm and never stopped smiling.
Tim’s cousin Anthony, who originally inspired his admiration for the Marines and throughout his past 16 years of service, was able to come to the base to be a part of Tim’s wish. One of the highlights of the wish for Tim and his family was being able to witness his cousin reenlist for another four years during his wish.
Timothy was also able to bring home special mementos from his trip, including his military fatigues, boots, aviation suit and other military gear given to him during the training. Each and every moment was filled with joy for Tim, but his favorite part was having the opportunity to get to know the Marines around base on a personal level, and learning more about their roles.
“The whole wish experience was beyond my expectations. The Marines were so kind and giving,” Tracy says. “After going through this experience, you’re reminded how many good people there are. Tim was very touched by the entire experience, but I also believe that he touched everyone he met there.”
Tracy says that the wish experience gave Tim a whole new outlook on life and a feeling of accomplishment. “When he returned from his wish it was like the depression was gone,” shares Tracy. “The wish helped build his self-esteem and he came home with an ‘I can and I will’ attitude. He came home feeling like he could do anything he set his mind to.”