SAN DIEGO — A local tech company transformed into a fisherman’s fantasy Friday for a Make-A-Wish sendoff party. The Darwell family has had to deal with a lot with two sons with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening chronic lung disease.
“These kids both have had about a 20-25 hour part-time jobs every week, every day since they were little until now,” said John Darwell of his sons. “(They spend) seven days a week, three to four hours a day in respiratory therapy working hard to keep themselves healthy .”
Reoh, 17, was diagnosed at five weeks of age. Thor, 12, was diagnosed in utero.
“The recognition of their own mortality as a child, it’s a pretty heavy concept for a little kid,” said John Darwell.
Both boys have requested a wish through the Make-A-Wish foundation. Reoh’s is to climb the Salkantay Trail in Machu Picchu. Thor’s wish is to go salmon fishing in Alaska.
“If I were to live to the average age of cystic fibrosis, which is 34 I believe, I’m middle aged right now,” said Reoh. “So the time is now to be able to experience these things.”
Friday, the downtown office of tech company Underground Elephant was turned in a prime fishing spot with toy fish, streamers, a mock glacier and 80 cheering employees. The company granted Thor’s wish to go to Alaska.
“Thor’s bravery inspired us to be better, and we repaid his gift to us, with making his wish come true,” said Underground Elephant CEO Jason Kulpa.
Thor thanked the team who also gave him a fishing vest and binoculars.
“Hearing about the fishing in Alaska is great and I’ve always wanted to go there, but I never had the chance to until now because of you guys,” Thor said. “I want to say thank you for this great opportunity to go.”
Alex Cano with Make-A-Wish said, on average, a wish a day is granted in San Diego.
“There’s no waiting list, and as soon as you qualify you get a wish,” Cano said. “To have our donors and our supporters meet our wish kids is one of the most amazing things that I get to do.”
The family couldn’t be more grateful for the generosity and the Make-A-Wish foundation.
“They granted both of my sons wishes,” said John.
The family said it’s excited about the present and optimistic about the future.
“It’s awesome just the awesomeness of humanity that they’re going to give me and my brother something like that when we can do it,” said Reoh. “It’s really wonderful.”