Family support means everything
Make-A-Wish – Eastern Ontario granted a wish on Fri., Jan. 19, for St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School’s Grade 12 student Joshua Taylor to attend an upcoming soccer game in Paris, France, where his favourite soccer player Neymar Jr. is now playing with the Paris Saint Germain. Seen here before the balloons and a replica of the Eiffel Tower are Joshua Taylor (in his new Make-A-Wish t-shirt) with family members from left, Uncle Ron and Aunt Sharon Young, his father Rob Taylor, sister Sadie Taylor, mother Kari Taylor, and grandparents Janet and Doug Scharf.    Carruthers photo

Muriel Carruthers
Record Staff
RUSSELL – Little did Grade 12 student Joshua Taylor know what he was about to face when St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School’s Principal Danny Palumbo called him to the office and then led him into the school’s auditorium on Fri., Jan. 19. Waiting there were his family and friends, as well as other Grade 12 students and teachers, and two representatives of the Make-A-Wish Foundation – Eastern Ontario Canada, for his wish reveal.

Joshua Taylor (at centre, sporting his new blue Make-A-Wish t-shirt) was surrounded by a few of his closest friends who gathered for a photo with him, on Fri., Jan. 19, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School in Russell, as the Make-A-Wish Coordinator Annie-France Stiles commented that his friends were exemplary in keeping a secret by not letting him know about the reveal beforehand. Carruthers photo

Before his arrival, Gabrielle Crete, an intern from Make-A-Wish, and a student herself at Algonquin College, was busy setting up for the reveal with a PowerPoint presentation, balloons, gift bags for Joshua, and a cardboard replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Crete explained that the Make-a-Wish Foundation had reached a goal in 2017 of 46 wishes and this year the goal is 45. There are three criteria to be considered for a wish to be granted: the person must be between three and 17 years old, living with a life-threatening illness, and never given a wish by another foundation.

On the organization’s website it states, “The mission of Make-A-Wish® Canada is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” Make-A-Wish is a highly recognized international wish-granting organization with affiliates granting wishes in 50 countries worldwide. Make-A-Wish® was founded in Phoenix Arizona in 1980 and in Canada in 1983. Make-A-Wish Canada consists of eight regional chapters and a national office.

Crete was joined by her supervisor, Wish Coordinator Annie-France Stiles, who emceed the event and asked the Grade 12 students and all in the audience to shout out “Your wish is coming true, Joshua,” when the PowerPoint revealed Joshua is going to Paris!

When the reveal was made that he and his immediate family will indeed be going to Paris, France, to see his favourite soccer player from Brazil, Neymar Jr, No. 10, now with the Paris Saint Germain team, play in a game, the shy 17 year old was visibly overwhelmed and speechless.

In an email, Joshua’s mother Kari Taylor informed The Record that two weeks before his fourth birthday he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting young Canadians. However, recent advancements in CF research have greatly improved the quality of life and people with CF are living longer lives, but there is still no cure.

Kari added, “His three wishes were initially to meet Neymar Jr, and to see Barcelona play soccer. Neymar Jr. was recently traded to Paris Saint Germain, hence the trip to Paris. The third wish was to meet Messi, another famous soccer player.”

After Grade 12, Joshua plans on further education, as he has been accepted to both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa and is leaning towards Business Law at Carleton.

“We are so grateful to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the supporters of this charity for all that they do to help kids who are fighting illnesses,” his mother Kari said.

For more information or to donate to Make-A-Wish, visit the website at