When Omar was diagnosed with a life-threatening circulatory disorder, he underwent treatment that necessitated bi-monthly blood transfusions and countless visits to the hospital. Through it all, his mother, brother and stepfather made sure he wasn’t alone and supported him by attending his treatments.
Surrounded by the care and comfort of his family, he has always felt an affinity for penguins. It is their own family-oriented spirit that captures his imagination. Omar likes how penguins, “go in the water with their family, catch fish with their family and are all together in an igloo.”
Initially, his love for penguins drew him to penguin stuffed animals, figurines and all the penguin movies and TV shows he could find. When he was told he would have his one true wish granted, he decided he would like to hug a penguin in person.
Make-A-Wish volunteers organized a penguin-themed party to surprise 10-year-old Omar and announce his wish would come true.
Just as when they supported Omar through his difficult treatments, his family joined him during his wish experience.
Dressed in orange suits for exploring the icy terrain, Omar and his family met and played with the penguins. Omar had a huge smile on his face while they got to interact with the black and white aquatic birds.
“I got to hug the king penguin and I even gave him a little kiss,” said Omar. “Then, I helped to build a nest made of rocks like they do. They grab rocks with their wings and make a nest.”
His mom, Vanessa, got to experience Omar’s happiness firsthand. She remembers what he told her the night of the wish experience: “Mom, I’m very happy, I felt so much love and that the penguin gave me love also when we hugged each other.”