The Wish Effect: Make-A-Wish and Disney Grant Wish to Selfless Boy Who Pays it Forward

For those of us who love Disney, it can be hard to name the thing we love the most. While we love the amazing theming, great attractions and beloved characters, it’s the joy Disney brings to the hearts of people everywhere the ability of Disney magic to bring out the best in people that we love the most. That’s just one of the reasons we never get tired of heart warming stories like the one below.


Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Thomas Smith:

If you could make a wish, what would it be? For wish kid Henry, this question resulted in a selfless act of generosity with a lasting impact.

Last week, we shared Tali’s epic wish for a Disney-themed RV camper, and today, I’m excited to introduce you to Henry, whose wish was to bring toys to all of the kids receiving care at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.


Henry is an 18-year-old from Oregon who adores Pua from “Moana” and is an avid coffee drinker. In June 2018, he was diagnosed with cancer. While he was in treatment, Henry stayed strong for his family, but he often felt scared and nervous – until a nurse gifted him a teddy bear.

“I was in a really tough place, but those teddy bears made me smile and gave me a little joy and warmth in my heart,” said Henry. “I loved that and I wanted to bring that to others.”


The nurse’s gift left such a lasting impact on Henry that when Make-A-Wish asked Henry for his wish, he knew right away that it was to give stuffed animals to other children at OHSU who may be feeling anxious while undergoing treatment.

“I remember looking in my mom’s eyes and telling her that I’d like to use my wish on a huge toy drive for the kiddos at Doernbecher’s,” said Henry. “I already have a beautiful family and I’m healthy now, so I decided I’d rather give, because that’s the greatest gift.”

Credit: Disney

Henry’s wish was granted exactly one year to the day after OHSU removed the cancerous tumor. Henry and his family were picked up in a limo and headed to their local Disney Store, where they picked out hundreds of toys for the kids at the hospital.

The Disney Store cast members helped the family load up the limo with bags and bags of toys for the kids and gifted Henry with his very own Pua plush, which Henry still has to this day.

Credit: Disney

At OHSU, Henry surprised young cancer patients and the families from the very floor where he was treated the year prior. He helped the kids pick out any toy that they wanted and was greeted with tearful parents, and some very excited kids.

“Seeing the reactions of the little kids filled my heart. I’m so glad I was able to make them smile, even for a little bit.” Henry remembered. “I still get emotional now just thinking about it because it’s something I’m never going to forget.”

Credit: Disney

A little over two years after his wish was granted, Henry is doing great. He is very close with his family and works as a coffee shop barista.  For all the wish kids out there, Henry wants you to know that “each of you has a story. Whatever you decide to do, do it as long as it brings you joy and warmth. Have the time of your life with your families, and shine bright like always because you’re special for sure!”

Henry’s selfless wish is just one of the 140,000 wishes that Disney and Make-A-Wish have granted together since 1980. To learn more, visit wish.org/Disney and stay tuned for even more stories as part of “The Wish Effect!”

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent DisneyLists.com at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!
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