Return to mobile version

Jonathan Leaves a Lasting Impact Through His Wish


“ Jonathan saw a chance to make life better for others. ”

Cassy and Steve pass smiling faces as they walk the grounds of home in Zimbabwe. They originally came here on a church mission with their son, Jonathan, in 2005. But since he left them in 2008, this home has become a large part of their life.

A Calling

Jonathan and his family originally visited the Mbuya Nehanda children’s home in 2005. They met with the children, helped around the home, and ultimately became dear friends to everyone there.

 In the back of the home is a large field where the home grows crops for the children to eat. One day, Jonathan was helping the boys with some of the farm work. There was no irrigation system, so the boys carried large buckets of water far out into the fields just to water the plants. He thought back to his life in the states where none of his friends carried buckets of water long distances just to eat, let alone farm their own food. When it came time to leave, Jonathan felt that he wanted to do more for his new friends in Africa. He wanted so badly to do more for the children, but he didn’t know how he could help.

Leaving an imprint

In 2008, Jonathan was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he was given the opportunity to have his wish granted. He immediately knew what his wish was going to be: to help the boys at the orphanage.  

Jonathan asked to provide Mbuya Nehanda with an irrigation system so the boys would no longer have to carry the buckets just to be able to eat.

Sadly, Jonathan succumbed to the disease only four months after his diagnosis. But his legacy will live on for years to come. Cassy and Steve continue to help the orphanages of Zimbabwe, and the irrigation pump is still proudly in use.

Jonathan could have wished for anything, but in his time of darkness, he could only think of using his wish to help those he felt really needed the help. Such a selfless act is one that refuses to be forgotten. Jonathan is a model for all of us to follow. Some mothers celebrate the day ahead, and some can’t help but write letters.

Join the conversation

This story makes me feel

Leave a Comment

Reflections from Jonathan's Mom

Jonathan letter

Go behind-the-scenes of Make-A-Wish with the Wish Nation Blog.

Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish.

Read Wish Nation blog posts

Join the conversation

Leave a Comment


June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

Wendy C.

We also lost our son to a brain tumor in 2005.
His name was also named Jonathan he was 8 what an amazing story thank you for sharing

May 06, 2014 - 8:25 AM

Carey J.

I just read about Jonathan and his wish to help the orphanage in Zimbabwe. What a beautiful soul, it is so inspiring to hear about people like Jonathan and of course to know about all of the wonderful things that Make-A-Wish does. Thank you -- to everyone who works with and through Make-A-Wish!!

May 06, 2014 - 9:35 AM

Paula R.

This is a beautiful story and just in time for Mother's Day!! Makes you appreciate everything we have and especially our children. This young man was only concerned with helping those in need!! We could all learn a valuable lesson from his story!!

May 09, 2014 - 8:13 PM

Janet DW

Jonathan's legacy lives on in the many lives his foundation has helped. Steve and Cassie are true examples of heroes who have taken their personal tragedy and used it as a vehicle for good in the world. They will never know the extend of their actions as a movement for improving the quality of life for these children. May God continue to bless them in their work!

May 12, 2014 - 1:29 PM

You might also be interested in ...

Brian , 15

Burkitts lymphoma

I wish to go to Pompeii, Italy

A Trip to Italy Helps Brian Heal

Dhanush , 7

immune system disorder

I wish to go visit the doctor who saved my life

Dhanush & doctor who saved his life

Jordan , 12

brain tumor

I wish to go to Australia

Jordan Travels Down Under