This wish granted in 2003.
Hollister’s medical journey began in November 2001 when he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis, (MELAS) Stroke-Like episodes. During his medical journey, the doctors, nurses and hospital staff became like family to Hollister, and together, they learned how to fight through his disorder. It was in the spring of 2002 during an inpatient stay at Blank Children’s Hospital that Hollister and his family first learned about Make-A-Wish. Two wish granters came to visit Hollister at the hospital and discover what he wanted to wish for.
As the wish granters spent time with Hollister, they explained the opportunities of traveling, meeting celebrities, going on trips and more. Hollister was excited to share that he loved watching The Price is Right and always hoped to meet Bob Barker as a contestant on the show. Unfortunately, the required age for contestants was 18, so later that night, Hollister and his father talked more about his wish. After watching hockey and dreaming of wishes, Hollister knew exactly what he wanted to do. He and his father contacted the wish granters and shared that he wanted to give his wish to another child who was more deserving and sicker than himself. However, the wish granters explained that his wish was just for him, as he was equally deserving of a wish. After more consideration, Hollister accepted his wish and chose to go on an Alaskan Cruise. Since he was just a toddler, Hollister had always dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. He enjoyed watching programs about whales and other sea life; it was his love for orcas, humpback whales and all marine life that inspired his wish to go to Alaska.
The wish trip was filled with amazing sceneries, excursions and experiences that he and his family would cherish forever. With each port stop along their cruise, Hollister and his family visited Skagway, Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan; each port stop excursion was filled with history to learn and wildlife to see. During his trip, Hollister was able to visit a moose sanctuary where he fed a baby moose, take a driving trip through the mountains and a train ride through the Gold Rush era town of Skagway, go whale-watching in Juneau and experience totem poles and native storytelling in Ketchikan.
“Hollister loved Juneau. We went whale watching,” Hollister’s father, Richard, recalls. “Boy, did we see whales! We saw humpbacks breaching so close to us. There were tails, fins and bodies coming out of the water. There were white-sided dolphins all around us and they were so fast. It was a dream come true for Hollister. We stopped by the Red Dog Saloon and enjoyed the atmosphere and bought fun t-shirts. It was a great day.”
The trip was a dream come true for him and his family. Thanks to his wish, they were able to spend quality time together and create memories that would last a lifetime. His family reflects on how grateful they are for this experience with Hollister and for the continued connection they share with Make-A-Wish® Iowa after Hollister’s passing. In memory of Hollister, they love attending events such as the winter parade, Iowa Cubs games and Jolly Holiday Lights. His family looks back on the memories from their trip and the times they walked through the Jolly Holiday Lights displays together; they remember the impact that Make-A-Wish Iowa had on their family and how much Hollister loved it all. Hollister’s family encourages everyone to donate and support Make-A-Wish Iowa and help grant life-changing wishes to children like Hollister.