Make-a-Wish delivers on Oliver’s golf cart dream
When Angelia and Brett Colglazier adopted their son Oliver, they knew he was alter-abled.
Oliver was born with congenital myotonic dystrophy type 1, a multisystem disorder that affects skeletal and smooth muscle as well as the eye, heart, endocrine system and central nervous system.
“The doctors told us that he probably wouldn’t ever be able to walk or talk, but Oliver does both of those,” Angelia Colglazier said.
He does have a bit of a speech impediment and his dexterity is affected, she added, “But he’s got a great sense of humor and a huge heart, and he’s sharp as a tack and really has a sense of purpose. If you tell him he can’t do something, he’ll just go and do it.”
He recently graduated from Gig Harbor High School, where he was in the school’s photography group and helped with the yearbook. He also participated in Special Olympics basketball and enjoys shooting hoops and camping. When he graduated from GHHS, he walked across the stage to receive his diploma, just as his classmates did. He now attends Peninsula School District’s Community Transition Program that helps young adults achieve independence as they transition to life after high school.
He’s also a “huge Disney Pixar fan — in fact you could say he’s a fanatic,” his mother said. He’s always wanted to go to Disneyland, but COVID has restricted most travel this year.
Oliver’s other longtime wish has been to have a driver’s license and drive a car, which, his mom said, just isn’t possible. So his parents had another idea. They got in touch with Make-a-Wish, a nationally known nonprofit that grants wishes to critically ill kids, and when the volunteer asked what he wanted, Oliver wished for a golf cart.
On a sunny October Sunday, his wish was granted. The whole Colglazier family, plus neighborhood friends, plus the teachers and other students from his CTP class all gathered in the Colglaziers’ front yard and, led by a fire truck from Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One and two Gig Harbor police vehicles — lights flashing and sirens wailing — a brand new, two-seater golf card was delivered.
“Oliver insisted that the golf cart have two seats so his nieces and nephews can ride along,” Angelia Colglazier said. ”That just shows his big heart and all the love he has.”
As the parade of fire trucks and police cars came to a halt in front of the Colgazier home, the crowd cheered and Oliver’s face lit up when he saw the cart. He and his dad got in, Oliver took the controls and they made a stop-and-start, learn-how-to-drive-this-thing ride around the property.
Make-a-Wish volunteer Ken Kieffer stood by happily watching the scene. A phone call from him to the fire and police departments had brought their participation.
“I was so pleased that they didn’t just show up,” Kieffer said. “They stayed and talked with people and they let kids sit in the fire truck and were genuinely interested in what was going on.”
Kieffer’s Make-a-Wish colleagues located a golf cart business in Port Orchard that gave a discount for Oliver’s cart and the wish was ready to be granted.
According to Make-a-Wish staff member Jessica Matthews, Oliver’s golf cart and its celebration are examples of the kind of thing that the nonprofit organization does almost every day.
“Every wish is different, because every kid is different,” she said. “Some kids want a big celebration, and some kids want something more private. But every wish is very, very special.”
Many of the wish requests are for trips to someplace special, like Disneyland.
“But we haven’t been able to grant any travel wishes for a while because of COVID. So sometimes kids need to come up with a second wish, one that we can do,” Matthews said.
She added that the organization always needs more volunteers, but the need is especially big right now.
“Wishes come about when a parent or guardian or a medical professional — or even a youngster – gets in touch with us,” she said. “Our only requirement is that the child has to have a critical illness.”
Then two Make-a-Wish volunteers meet with the family and get a clear understanding of what the child wants.
“We make sure that we’re doing this for the child, not just because someone else in the family wants it,” she said. “Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to experience firsthand the kind of really positive difference you can make in someone’s life.”
Kieffer, who’s been a Make-a-Wish volunteer for 21 years, agreed.
“It’s an absolutely wonderful experience,” he said. “There are always plenty of wishes waiting to be granted. But my own personal wish is that there will be no more sick kids and no more need for wishes.”