Damon has always loved going to the beach with his family. Looking past his younger siblings playing in the sand and on toward the vast ocean brings him a sense of calm – it gives him a reassuring feeling that everything will be okay.
Diagnosed at five months old with muscular dystrophy, Damon, now 18, struggles with the progressive loss of muscle tissue leading to muscle weakness. His condition has progressed to the point where he needs a wheelchair to get from one place to the next. Despite this ongoing struggle, Damon remains positive. He has an outgoing personality and you rarely see him without a big old smile on his face.
The love of his family is his biggest strength and support. With four siblings, Damon is always near someone he loves and trusts. But the one place where he feels limited is the same place that his family goes to spend quality time together – the beach. While he can still get in the water with some help and a life-vest, getting over the sand to the water’s edge is the challenge. Often, Damon could only sit back at the grassy area and watch from a distance.
Damon’s wish was simple – he wanted to be a part of family activities at the beach, up close at the water’s edge, so he wished for his very own all-terrain, tricked-out beach wheelchair!
In addition to big fat wheels that could move over even the most uneven terrain, Damon’s dream wheelchair had to have some flash! With a passion for fast cars, big trucks and model vehicles, he wished to bring some fun elements to it – he wanted a hot-looking beach wheelchair with spinning rims and head lights!
On Macy’s National Believe Day, at the Macy’s store at Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Damon’s wish was granted in front of a huge crowd of friends, family, holiday shoppers and passersby. Damon’s wish was granted with a flourish, following a choreographed flash mob dance by Make-A-Wish Hawaii staff and volunteers, and a special performance by the world-renowned, Hawaii-based dance crew, Academy of Hype.
After the dance performance, Damon’s wheelchair was unveiled! It was exactly what he had imagined and more! It had been customized with candy apple red fenders, custom-painted at a local auto shop with silver flames. Fat tires designed for rough terrain made the beach a lot more accessible and custom black upholstery with red stitching made it look like a cool, comfy ride. It was even tricked-out with an Apple iPod for Damon to listen to music at the beach.
The crowd cheered as he received this heartwarming gift.
Damon’s smile was priceless – he could hardly believe that this was all for him! “Thank you” he said as tears of joy flowed from his eyes. It was a powerful moment that brought the entire audience to tears. Everyone could see how happy Damon was and how much his new beach wheelchair meant to him. It will forever be a memory etched into the hearts of everyone who witnessed Damon’s wish come true at Macy’s on National Believe Day.
After the wish reveal, Damon, his family and other wish families were invited to a private party where food and fun awaited. It was the perfect ending to an unforgettable day. Before leaving, Damon made sure to invite all his new friends to a day at the beach where they could share the joy of his life-changing wish.
Special Thanks: Macy’s, 808 Speed Shop, Pacific Medical Healthcare & Supply Co., Deming Designs, Wish Granters: Altwon & Anthony Whitfield