Local Make A Wish chapter grants 18,000th wish, gives South Bend teen tools to give back
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Wish Kid Michael, as he was called throughout the day on Friday, is 15 years old and has autism and Leukemia. The Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana Chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation, the largest chapter in the country dubbed Wish Kid Michael's wish as its 18 thousandth granted. Michael's wish? Goats. He wanted to start his own goat farm to help other kids with critical illnesses deal with the struggles in their lives by giving them a place to play with goats. South Bend May James Mueller wrote a special proclamation in honor of Michael's wish.
"I, James Mueller, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, do hereby proclaim and recognize this Friday, April 2nd to be Make a Wish Day in South Bend, Indiana," Mayor Mueller announced. "I encourage and ask all residents to join me in celebrating Wish Kid Michael and the chapter's 18,000th wish."
Michael wanted to use his wish to give back to other kids dealing with critical illnesses. His mother, Brandy Latowski, said Michael was inspired by his own experience when he suffered a life-threatening side effect from his chemotherapy treatment.
"He had gone through so much stuff and was just like 'I really wish when I was at my worst or had recovered from the worst of it that I had a place to go to love on goats and be part of a community,'" Latowski said.
This wish was Make A Wish Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana's 18,000th, and organizers said they wanted it to be special.
"When we're looking ahead to that pretty special event for us, we identified a really special wish," said Jeff McFarland, the governing board chair of Make A Wish Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. "Michael's wish is fantastic in a lot of ways. It says a lot about his character, and when we have a wish kid who wants to give back and do something for other wish kids and for other kids with special needs, it's just a really special, special, special wish."
After Mayor Mueller proclaimed April 2nd as Make A Wish Day in South Bend, in honor of Wish Kid Michael, he said he believed in Michael's vision for the goat farm which Michael planned to start at Log Town Farm in North Liberty, Indiana.
"When you hear goats, you're saying 'ok goats' and then once you see it, the vision was sound, right?" Mayor Mueller said. "You can see everything that's been going on here this afternoon and how helpful these goats can be to kids in difficult times."
Michael was given three dairy goats as part of his wish on Friday. He was asked multiple times what he will name them but only said he was working on it in response.