Fifteen-year-old James has always loved hip hop. And in the midst of his cancer diagnosis, he found joy in making his own music.
James began writing and recording music in his bedroom, creating beats and experimenting with rap as a release from the stress of his cancer treatments. James even coined his own rapper name and worked with his brother to record his first music video. So, when it was time to choose his wish, there was no hesitation: James wished to have his very own production studio.
As a kickoff to his wish, James’s wish granters took him to the Music & Entertainment Learning Experience (MELE) Program at Honolulu Community College, a unique program that promotes the business and profession of music in Hawaii. James lit up listening to current and former MELE students explain more about the program. He bobbed his head to the beat as they shared their own work, and he excitedly collaborated with them as he recorded his very own track in the studio. James also had the opportunity to tour local radio company Ohana Broadcast; he even got to record an intro for his new track and introduce some of today’s top hits on the radio!
A few weeks later, James’s wish granters set up his new equipment in his bedroom and surprised him when got home. “I love the speakers and all the equipment!” said James. “It made me super happy because I can make great music now…even when I feel sick from my chemo medicine!”
For James and his family, this wish has provided hope for the future. James was so inspired by his experience at MELE in particular that he’s currently applying to the program through the Early College Program at his school.
“[This experience] really made him look to the future and plan for what he can be doing years from now rather than focusing on the treatment he’s having to suffer through right now,” said James’s mom, Jonelle. “He wants to use the equipment to further his music skills and hopefully make a career out of it!”
Microphone in hand and dreams of the future within reach, James’s advice to other wish kids is simple: “Make sure you ask for something really cool!”
A special Mahalo to Bristol-Myers Squibb for making James’s wish come true! Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Make-A-Wish share a deep commitment to providing emotional support for patients and their families. Thank you, BMS! Your gift to Make-A-Wish in 2018 does more than bring joy to children with cancer. You help us give them an edge in conquering their illnesses.
“We are so grateful to everyone, including the donors who made his wish possible!” said Jonelle.