Adeola ‘Abraham’ Olagbegi, who lives with a rare blood disorder, told The Washington Post he hopes to start a nonprofit food provider for homeless individuals
Adeola ‘Abraham’ Olagbegi, 13, could have asked for anything in the world after learning he qualified as a Make-A-Wish recipient due to his rare blood disorder.
Instead of requesting a new gaming console or a trip to Disney World, the Jackson, Mississippi native chose to feed homeless individuals at a local park for a full year. He told The Washington Post he hopes to continue helping others for years to come.
“I would like for the homeless people at Poindexter Park in Jackson to receive one hot meal a month every month for the rest of the year or for an entire year,” Abraham wrote on the Make-A-Wish application, according to the Post.
Abraham said giving back to the community was a regular practice of his long before he was diagnosed in June 2020 with aplastic anemia, a rare and life-threatening bone marrow condition in which too few blood cells are produced for the body to function, the Post reported.
“Before I got sick, me and my family would go feed the homeless at that park every month,” Abraham explained, per the Post. “Since I became sick, my family had to stop doing it. I really want to do something impactful.”
Abraham underwent a bone marrow transplant in Nov. 2020 as part of a nine-month treatment process, during which a month-long hospital stay kept him from playing sports with his friends or attending school in person — yet he told the Post feeding the homeless was the activity he missed the most.
Months after his surgery, Abraham told WLBT he is “doing good” with no plans of letting his diagnosis stand in the way of his goals.
“I am a person of hope, so when you come against a big mountain, you have to remember you have a big God,” Abraham told WLBT.
Doctors referred Abraham to the state’s chapter of Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit which grants wishes to youth 2-18 who have been diagnosed with critical illnesses.
Adeola via NBC Nightly News
Abraham told the Post he saw in front of him a “perfect opportunity to turn something painful into something joyful,” adding, “I just wanted to help in my community the best way I could.”
To honor Abraham’s wish, the organization has committed to feeding at least 80 homeless individuals per month for a calendar year through an event called “Abraham’s Table” held at Poindexter Park, according to the Post.
Linda Sermons, who works at Make-A-Wish Mississippi as a wish assistant, told the Post she and her manager’s “eyes watered up” and both got “goosebumps” upon opening Abraham’s application paperwork, adding: “His wish is selfless.”
The most common Make-A-Wish requests among children include a trip to Disney World, meeting their favorite celebrity, a shopping spree and a vacation to a remote destination, according to StatNews.com.
Sermons told WLBT that the Mississippi chapter was “excited” to receive its “first philanthropic wish in our 20+ years of the chapter in the state.”
“This wish is definitely leaving a mark, not only because of the milestone it gave our chapter, but also meeting this family and knowing how the community can truly rally around our kids is just amazing,” she told the Post.
Abraham told the Post his mother, Miriam Olagbegi, would often tell him “it’s a blessing to be a blessing,” and that’s part of what motivates him to serve the needs of those around him.
“It just melted my heart,” Miriam told the Post about hearing that the message got through to her son.
“As parents, we could only hope to raise good, God-fearing, productive members of society,” Miriam told CNN. “Sometimes we get things wrong and sometimes we get things right; so it’s nice to see when things go right.”
“We are hoping to one day get food trucks,” Abraham told the Post, explaining his plans to begin a nonprofit under the name, continuing his efforts to provide a source of support to those in need.
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