#TheWishEffect: Henry’s Selfless Wish to Pay it Forward & Spread Joy

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

If you could make a wish, what would it be? For wish kid Henry, this question resulted in a selfless act of generosity with a lasting impact.

Last week, we shared Tali’s epic wish for a Disney-themed RV camper, and today, I’m excited to introduce you to Henry, whose wish was to bring toys to all of the kids receiving care at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Henry is an 18-year-old from Oregon who adores Pua from “Moana” and is an avid coffee drinker. In June 2018, he was diagnosed with cancer. While he was in treatment, Henry stayed strong for his family, but he often felt scared and nervous – until a nurse gifted him a teddy bear.

“I was in a really tough place, but those teddy bears made me smile and gave me a little joy and warmth in my heart,” said Henry. “I loved that and I wanted to bring that to others.”

The nurse’s gift left such a lasting impact on Henry that when Make-A-Wish asked Henry for his wish, he knew right away that it was to give stuffed animals to other children at OHSU who may be feeling anxious while undergoing treatment.

“I remember looking in my mom’s eyes and telling her that I’d like to use my wish on a huge toy drive for the kiddos at Doernbecher’s,” said Henry. “I already have a beautiful family and I’m healthy now, so I decided I’d rather give, because that’s the greatest gift.”

Henry's wish is granted at the Disney Store at Clackamas Town Center in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, June 21, 2019.

Henry’s wish was granted exactly one year to the day after OHSU removed the cancerous tumor. Henry and his family were picked up in a limo and headed to their local Disney Store, where they picked out hundreds of toys for the kids at the hospital.

The Disney Store cast members helped the family load up the limo with bags and bags of toys for the kids and gifted Henry with his very own Pua plush, which Henry still has to this day.

Henry brings toys to children at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital for his Make A Wish day in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, June 21, 2019.

At OHSU, Henry surprised young cancer patients and the families from the very floor where he was treated the year prior. He helped the kids pick out any toy that they wanted and was greeted with tearful parents, and some very excited kids.

“Seeing the reactions of the little kids filled my heart. I’m so glad I was able to make them smile, even for a little bit.” Henry remembered. “I still get emotional now just thinking about it because it’s something I’m never going to forget.”

A little over two years after his wish was granted, Henry is doing great. He is very close with his family and works as a coffee shop barista.  For all the wish kids out there, Henry wants you to know that “each of you has a story. Whatever you decide to do, do it as long as it brings you joy and warmth. Have the time of your life with your families, and shine bright like always because you’re special for sure!”

Henry’s selfless wish is just one of the 140,000 wishes that Disney and Make-A-Wish have granted together since 1980. To learn more, visit wish.org/Disney and stay tuned for even more stories as part of “The Wish Effect!”

Comments

  • This is amazing. As a former Disney cast member who has been a part of many “wishes,” I’ve never seen someone use their wish for others. I’ve cried over a lot of wishes (backstage, of course, because I didn’t want people to see me in tears so I held it in until I was backstage — which wasn’t always easy to do), but not happy tears like this. Thank you for sharing this, Disney Parks Blog. This made me happy.

    I’m glad Henry is doing great, and his words for other wish kids are fantastic. Keep granting wishes, Disney, and as for Henry, I hope he just keeps being who he is. Because he is an inspiration.

  • Such an amazing guy!!! He is a blessing to the world!!

  • Absolutely Beautiful! What a wonderful kid!