The Make-A-Wish Foundation changes the lives of children suffering from critical illnesses all over the world by making their wishes come true. In most cases, a wish falls into one of four categories: I wish to have, I wish to go, I wish to meet, or I wish to be. But one Mississippi teen wished to give instead. Rather than ask for cool gadgets or a memorable trip, 13-year-old Abraham Olagbegi wished to feed people experiencing homelessness at a local park in Jackson for a year.
At the height of the pandemic, the young boy found out that he was born with a rare blood disorder and would need a bone marrow transplant. One year later, after braving a successful transplant and rounds of chemotherapy, Olagbegi found out that he qualified for Make-A-Wish. With guidance from his parents, he began deciding what he would do with this incredible opportunity. All he knew was that he wanted his wish to have a long-lasting impact. “My mom always says it’s a blessing to be a blessing, so I just wanted to do something for other people to make it last long,” Olagbegi shares.
The leaders of Make-A-Wish’s local chapter in Mississippi were surprised and moved by the 13-year-old’s choice to use his wish to help others in need. “When he so easily gives to others at a time where everybody should really be supporting him, you just have to say, that’s a remarkable young man,” Make-A-Wish Mississippi Assistant Linda Sermons says. Even more remarkable, Olagbegi is the first person in the chapter’s history to use his wish to give back.
This September, Make-A-Wish helped Olagbegi serve his first meal to people experiencing homelessness, with support and donations from local businesses and church ministries. According to the young philanthropist, around 80 people were fed that day. His wish will continue on the third Saturday of each month until August of 2022. But when it’s all over, Olagbegi doesn’t have any thoughts of stopping. In fact, the teen wants to continue the work and hopes to start his own nonprofit called “Abraham’s Table.”
“We're just very excited to be able to continue on this endeavor. It's just so rewarding,” says Miriam Olagbegi, Abraham’s mother. “If I was out there on the streets, homeless, I would want somebody at some point to think of me and to do something special for me. So, that's what I try to instill in my kids, and we just try to pay it forward by doing what we were raised to do.”