Charley is a vibrant 7-year-old boy. He loves playing baseball, watching Jurassic Park (on loop), and hanging out with his younger brother Jack and new sister Lucy.
However, about a year ago, Charley and his family’s lives were turned upside down when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Charley has been fighting for his life ever since. With several treatments such as spinal chemo, and oral chemo daily, Charley doesn’t have the typical life of a young boy.
After raising $10,000 and “Adopting a Wish” thru Make-A-Wish® Greater Los Angeles chapter, we were overjoyed to be matched with Charley to help his dream of being a paleontologist for a day come true! It was the perfect wish match. A group of science nerds was going to help bring the love of science of dinosaurs to life for a very deserving kid.
Charley’s captivation for dinosaurs didn’t really happen overnight. His mom, Steviann, shared, “for about the last 2 or 3 years, Charley has watched Jurassic Park before bed maybe 300 or 400 times.” Charley’s fascination with dinosaurs on the big screen led him to want to study dinosaurs in real life, as a paleontologist.
After an amazing reveal at the La Brea Tar Pits, Charley and his family flew off to South Dakota to hunt down some big dinosaurs at a real dig site called Paleo Adventures. After 2 plane rides, they finally made it! The next day the digging began. The hunt for dinosaur remains may not have been exactly what Charley had in mind, but they uncovered many fossils, like part of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, several teeth, part of a Jurassic turtle, and Charley’s dad, Chad, even found a tooth from a Nanotyrannosaurus Lancensis never discovered before.
They were even given several souvenirs to bring home, including real fossils!
The Phenomenex family is so grateful to have been able to help Charley’s wish come true. We were ecstatic to hear that we were even going to get to meet Charley and his family to hear of their adventure and Charley’s story.
Charley and his family have a motto, “All about firsts”. They try not to turn down opportunities for any first-time moments. While on his wish trip, Charley was able to go down water slides, explore caves, ride rollercoasters, and even fly down a zip-line!
His parents saw a change in Charley, a change they had been hoping for, for months.
Chad shared with us that, “since the trip, [Charley] broke out of his shell and just wants to do so much different stuff…he got his confidence back.”
Charley has already decided what his next firsts are going to be learning to swim and snowboard. His parents couldn’t be happier seeing Charley wanting to get back into the world and strive to get stronger every day.
Steviann said, “The trip un-stuck him. It un-stuck the whole family and seemed to lift every one’s spirits.”
Make-A-Wish gives children not only a once in a lifetime opportunity, but the strength to fight their disease. The association’s goal is to not only grant wishes, but grant confidence, happiness, and the grit to keep fighting.
Make-A-Wish Mission Statement:
“Wishes are more than just a nice thing.
A wish experience can be a game-changer for a child with a life-threatening medical condition.
This one belief guides us in everything we do at Make-A-Wish®. It inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve. It compels us to be creative in exceeding the expectations of every wish kid. It drives us to make our donated resources go as far as possible.
Most of all, it’s the founding principle of our vision to grant the wish of every eligible child.
Wishes are more than just a nice thing. And they are far more than gifts, or singular events in time. Wishes impact everyone involved – wish kids, volunteers, donors, sponsors, medical professionals and communities. The impact varies. For wish kids, just the act of making their wish come true can give them the courage to comply with their medical treatments. Parents might finally feel like they can be optimistic. And still others might realize all they have to offer the world through volunteer work or philanthropy.
Whatever the odds, whatever the obstacles … wishes find a way to make the world better.”
The Phenomenex family was honored to have a part in helping Charley’s wish to be a paleontologist for a day come true. To hear more of his story, check out the Facebook page, “Charley’s Fight For Life”. To learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, click here: la.wish.org
Check out Charley and his family’s visit to Phenomenex!