Make-A-Wish Grants Northern Michigan Cancer Survivor’s Wish to Give, Donating $5,000 to Local Non-Prof

Since 1984, Make-A- Wish Michigan has granted 10,000 wishes to Michigan children with critical illnesses.

These wishes come in so many different forms, but Thursday in Harbor Springs was a special wish they do just a few times a year. 07 09 2020 Make A Wish Pkg 6

“There was no time to be scared just kind of time to push on through and get through it,” said Nathan Dryer.

At 16 years old, Nathan faced a cancer diagnosis. Now at 18 years old, the avid golfer and car lover is cancer free.

Since finishing chemo, he’s worked as an assistant coach for the non-profit First Tee of Northern Michigan.

“So, I had no hair and everything, I was kind of getting back on my feet,” Nathan said.

They teach young people life skills and core values through the game of golf.

For Nathan, it was a place where he wasn’t seen as a cancer patient.

“When I was at work I left all that behind,” Nathan said. “It definitely gave me something to look forward to everyday.”

That’s why when Make-A-Wish approached him, he decided his wish was to give. On Thursday, Make-A-Wish donated $5,000 to First Tee of Northern Michigan in honor of Nathan’s wish.

“I want kids for generations, to have the same experience that kids I’ve coached have,” Nathan said. “I want to leave something, I want this to keep going.”

“I was just floored and honored,” said First Tee of Northern Michigan Executive Director Melissa Hoglund. “He said to me ‘when I’m teaching kids this summer, I’m going to know in my heart I’ve done something to help them, and they won’t even know it.’”

He made the decision before COVID-19 forced First Tee to cancel their fundraisers for the year.

The non-profit relies on charitable donations for about 90% of their finances.

“The impact of this gift this year is untold, it’s the difference between survival and not survival,” Melissa said.

Make-A-Wish Michigan says of the 400 wishes they typically grant each year, just one or two choose to give.

To make sure there was still a surprise in store, they organized a classic car parade as a thank you.

“Someone even managed to get cars that I’d never seen before, which is quite the accomplishment,” Nathan said.

To learn more about Make-A-Wish Michigan, click here. 

To learn more about First Tee of Northern Michigan, click here.