Emilio’s wish was truly one-of-a-kind, as it was inspired by his hospital experience. During his treatment for cancer, the six-year-old would look out the window from his hospital bed at the beautiful Manhattan Beach harbor below. The sight of boats coming and going both fascinated and excited him. As a result, when it was time to choose his wish, Emilio said he wanted to be a boat captain and sail the waves on his own.
Despite the challenges of his medical condition, Emilio pushed through. According to his mother, Emilio is “really strong and brave. He sees the best in the worst situations.” His infatuation with boats was like a constant beacon of hope.
On the big day, Emilio traveled from his home in Los Angeles to San Diego, where, thanks to generous volunteers, a privately-owned cabin cruiser was waiting for him. As he boarded, dressed in his captain’s suit, he introduced himself as “Emilio el Capitán” and told everyone on the boat, “I won the battle and nothing can stop me from doing what I want to do.” Emilio felt right at home behind the wheel and got to do everything he wished for. He steered the boat around the harbor for hours, enjoying every wave, every sounding of the horn and every moment of pure freedom – his smile stretching wider than the ocean.
Watching Emilio steer the boat, his mother said, “it was a moment of absolute fascination and joy. Believe me when I tell you that I have no words to describe the emotions. He enjoyed every part of his dream-come-true so much that I wish I could have stopped time so that he could stay as happy as he was on that day.”