The Boy Who Shared His Wish

Christopher James Greicius was a 7-year-old in Phoenix, Arizona, living with leukemia. He wanted to grow up to be a police officer, but his prognosis was bad. Greicius wasn’t destined to reach his next birthday, but the city and the local police department wanted to do what they could to help him reach his dreams. A family friend connected Greicius’s mom with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, who in turn worked with the Phoenix police to help Christopher’s dream come true. The city gave him a custom uniform and invited him to spend a day as a police officer. On May 1, 1980, Christopher did exactly that — swearing him in as an honorary member of the police force and giving him a tour of the city in the police helicopter. It was a great day for a young kid with few days left; Christopher passed away on May 3rd.

The magic of the special experience wasn’t lost on Christopher’s mother, Linda Pauling. Wanting to bring glimmers of joy to others in their darkest moments, she and others co-founded the Make-a-Wish Foundation the following year. Since then, the Make-a-Wish Foundation has granted more than a half-mission such “wishes,” bringing a unique experience to children age with a critical illness. 

A few weeks ago, Adeola “Abraham” Olagbegi became one of the children to be granted his wish. A 13-year-old in Jackson, Mississippi, Olagbegi was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in 2020. According to Yahoo!, the condition “causes the body to stop producing enough new blood cells, leaving patients fatigued and more prone to infection and uncontrolled bleeding,” and in many cases — including Olagbegi’s — requires radiation followed by a bone marrow transplant. His prognosis is good, but the path to get there has been arduous, and the Mississippi chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation stepped in to help elevate his spirits. Shortly after his bone marrow transplant, he learned that his wish was going to be granted. 

He asked for a lot of food.

But not for himself. The local ABC affiliate, WAPT, explains

Abraham Olagbegi was given the opportunity by Make-A-Wish for any wish he wanted. Of all the wishes in the world, he chose to feed the homeless at Poindexter Park in Jackson.

“My mom always says it’s a blessing to be a blessing so I just wanted to do something for other people to make it last long,” Olagebgi said.

On one Saturday in September 2021, reports CBS News, “Make-A-Wish helped Abraham organize a day to hand out free food in Jackson, Mississippi, with food and supplies donated from local businesses. Abraham said they ended up feeding about 80 people that day,” as seen above via CBS. And this wasn’t a one-time deal. Per WAPT, Abraham and Make-a-Wish will be providing meals on the third Saturday of every month through August 2022. After that, according to People magazine, the teenager “also plans to start a non-profit called ‘Abraham’s Table’ to continue his mission.”

For the Mississippi chapter of Make-a-Wish, Abraham’s dream is the first of its kind; no other child has used his or her wish to help others. The organization’s spokesperson echoed probably everyone’s view, telling WAPT that “when he so easily gives to others at a time where everybody should really be supporting him, you just have to say, that’s a remarkable young man.”

Bonus fact: In one case, a Make-a-Wish visit turned into a re-write on a movie set (albeit a tiny one). In the 2017 movie Thor: Ragnorak, there’s a scene where — wait, I need to warn you first, there’s a spoiler here — anyway, there’s a scene where Thor has to fight someone, and without giving away too much, he’s surprised by who he sees. (Here’s the scene, if I’m being too ambiguous.) There’s a now-iconic line from that scene; Thor, upon noticing his opponent, tells those gathered that “he’s a friend from work.” The line wasn’t written by scriptwriters. As reports, a Make-a-Wish grantee was on set that day and recommended that Thor say that line;  he did as part of the Wish, and it worked so well, filmmakers kept it in.

From the Archives: Greetings: A Make-a-Wish-style wish with a great story.