Since its inception in 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has been responsible for granting the wishes of thousands of children with life threatening illnesses all across the United States. While the vast majority of wishes involve taking vacations, meeting celebrities or going to Disneyland, occasionally kids go off-prompter, and things get awesome. For example ...
#8. Sam Gets the Big-League Treatment
Like so many other young boys who enjoy standing around doing nothing for hours at a time, 11-year-old Sam loved to play baseball. However, in recent years, neuroblastoma, a cancer that affects the nervous system, had tragically left him unable to take the field with his team. Despite his illness, Sam wanted a place to watch and cheer on his friends, leading to his wish for a baseball field to be built in his backyard.
"Just the field. You can keep Kevin Costner."
And it worked. The community got together and totally Field of Dreams'ed the shit out of little Sam and built a baseball field. Such an enormous task required help and donations from numerous sources. First, grounds crews from the University of Mississippi and Itawamba Community College dedicated hundreds of hours to the project. Next, numerous local groups donated, among other things, sod, fencing, a backstop, an irrigation system and a scoreboard.
Make a Wish Foundation
It's actually nicer than where the Oakland A's play.
Sam chose 18 friends for him to manage, and on the day of the grand opening, a police-escorted limo drove him to the field where a crowd of hundreds cheered him on. Brought in to face Sam's team was a local junior varsity team -- all of whom must have just felt like dicks.
Make a Wish Foundation
"What do you mean, 'No trash talking'?"
Before the game, a local neighbor belted out "The Star Spangled Banner." Soon after, 370 fans cheered Sam and his team on as they took the field while the opening theme from Rocky blared. Sam threw out the first pitch, and the game was on. A local sports announcer called the action as donated snacks and drinks circled the stands.
Sam's club picked up the 11-6 victory in a hard fought battle, and anyone in Sam's neighborhood is now free to use that field whenever they want.
Make a Wish Foundation
It's a good thing he wasn't a NASCAR fan.
#7. Craig Gets More Than He Asked For
Some people are simply born with the spirit of a warrior. They need to win. If Michael Jordan was content with just being a good basketball player -- if he wasn't obsessed with success -- then he'd never be Michael Jordan. Donald Trump doesn't just want money; he wants all the money, and he wants everyone's attention, now and forever, and that's what makes him Donald Trump (and also terrible). It's the warrior spirit that separates Achilles from other soldiers. In 1989, 9-year-old Craig Shergold had such a spirit. He was suffering from a brain tumor, but he didn't just want a few get-well cards. He wanted every last one on the planet. Shergold wanted to win.
The Free Lance-Star
"Bring it, other sick kids."
You might have even heard of Shergold. He was the subject of a massive chain letter campaign, wherein he wished for as many people as possible to send him get-well cards so as to get more cards than anyone else had ever gotten. In a seemingly insignificant detail that will become important later in the story (that's called foreshadowing, ladies and gents) this is the only wish on the list that wasn't granted by the actual Make-A-Wish foundation, which note on their website, we do not participate in these kinds of wishes.
Seeing nothing ominous in that policy, the similar Children's Wish Foundation stepped in like the "cool" parent and made Craig's wish happen. The chain letter became a smash hit, and by the end of 1991, Craig had shattered the Guinness World Record with 35 million get-well cards having been sent to the boy's home in Britain.
In a mini-miracle, a rich businessman took notice of Craig's wish adventure and contacted him about covering the cost of his surgery. Craig received proper surgery soon after the record was reached, and is still alive and healthy today. With the record beaten and cancer gone, Craig officially announced he wished for the cards to stop. Wow, way to go, mankind!
The boy survived, but dozens of mailmen threw their backs out.
Then shit got nuts. It turns out there's a reason the Make-A-Wish foundation doesn't traffic in chain letters. Millions of them were already out there being circulated, and they didn't disappear with Craig's cancer. The wonderful people who sent get-well cards didn't stop forwarding them to other wonderful people, no matter how much Craig and his family told the public, "We're good over here, you can stop now! Seriously it's getting hard to breath in here." Eventually, Craig's family abandoned their home, unable to tolerate the daily volume of mail. With an address that was no longer current, the post office quickly grew wise and began forwarding any Children's Wish Foundation related mail to the company headquarters in Phoenix. Eventually, the company had to begin storing them in a massive holding-area staffed by 40 volunteers -- just enough to handle the 300,000 messages received each week. Hey, slow down, mankind!
By 1993, over 100 million cards made their way to the warehouse. Some were just standard get-well cards, and at least one was creepily addressed "To the Boy Who Is Sick in the Hospital, in Arizona, or Colorado." Whoa, holy shit, at least learn the kid's name and where he is, mankind!
"Can't stop to read! MUST SEND MORE LETTERS!"
#6. Gilligan Gets Off the Island
Gilligan's Island was abruptly cancelled after its third season in 1967, leaving Gilligan and crew trapped on the island with no real conclusion to their predicament. The viewer was left to assume that they'd died there after having resorted to cannibalism, or maybe they'd stayed there a few years until the Skipper went crazy and tried to unplug the island in an attempt to release pure evil into the world and undo existence before getting stopped by the Professor and Sideways Ginger.
Although a series of movies were released after the fact -- including one with the goddamn Harlem Globetrotters -- they went mostly unseen, and in most people's minds, Gilligan was stuck on that island forever.
For some reason, people didn't want to watch this.
And some people were happy to accept this, but those people are awful. A group of Make-A-Wish children in 1992 decided to crank their badass levels up to 11, get on a cruise ship and rescue Gilligan. These little champions never leave a man behind, even if he is fictional.
Point Pleasant Register
And responsible for getting a whole boat full of innocent people stranded.
For one day, Gilligan actor Bob Denver donned his classic red shirt and white hat and parked down on a deserted island off the coast of West Virginia. Make-A-Wish officials alerted the sick children aboard the West Virginia Bell -- renamed the S.S. Minnow for that day -- that Gilligan was still out there and needed their help. Soon, the children took off to "save" him.
When they'd reached the island, the children spotted Gilligan, who quickly hopped on board and spent the rest of the day signing autographs and playing games with the children. So there you have it. Next time you find yourself sad that Gilligan never made it off the island, realize that he totally did -- it just took 25 years, and presumably everyone else died.
Or were eaten.
#5. Enzo Says "Too Late"
6-year-old Enzo's wish started innocently enough. He wanted to spend the afternoon with "celebrity" chef Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa. The young boy, suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, would often watch Garten's show while sick in his bed. Enzo's wish simply involved meeting with the chef and cooking one of the Contessa's many French dishes with her. No big deal, right?
She told the kid no.
Enzo was told to try again later that year due to a book tour conflict. On his next attempt to reach the cooking star, he was given an answer of "definite no" from Contessa's PR team, who are all apparently awful at their jobs. "Barefoot Contessa? More like Piece-of-Shit-You're-a-Bitch Contessa," Enzo probably never said.
He's much more polite than we are.
Enzo was devastated by the news that his favorite chef had turned him down, and his family quickly turned to the Web to air their displeasure. In a blog post earlier this year, Enzo's mom noted that her son had wanted to meet the chef for the past three years, and had publicly wondered, "Why doesn't she want to meet me?" We're very sorry to everyone else who entered, but we officially have a winner for saddest thing ever.
No doubt thrilled by the easiest news story of all time, nearly every major news group hopped on the story, and soon the Contessa found herself the number one enemy of people who support sick children over millionaire chefs. ABC News noted that the refusal was out of step with the much more charity-friendly image she put out in public.
And here she is wearing shoes. Do her lies know no end?
In a panic move, Contessa contacted Enzo and personally invited him to join her. He would get to cook with her just like he wanted all along! No big deal, right?
He told the lady no.
"I've moved on to Rachael Ray."
See, Enzo had spent the weeks since his rejection doing two things: booking a different wish and being sick of the Barefoot Contessa's bullshit. He alerted the chef that her apologies were too little too late, and instead of cooking a simple meal with a terrible person, decided he was going to go out and swim with some motherfucking dolphins. Nice upgrade, Enzo.