Instead of asking for a trip to Disney World or the latest gaming console like most people his age would, a 13-year-old Make-A-Wish recipient wished for something that would benefit others.
After Adeola ‘Abraham’ Olagbegi learned that he qualified as a recipient due to his rare blood disorder, he chose to feed the homeless in his hometown in Jackson, Mississippi. And he hopes to continue helping them for years to come.
Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit that grants the wishes of youth aged 2 to 18 diagnosed with critical illnesses. In his application, Abraham wrote: “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.”
The teen isn’t new to performing philanthropic acts. Before he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in June 2020, he and his family gave back to their community by regularly feeding the homeless.
“Before I got sick, me and my family would go feed the homeless at that park every month,” Abraham explained. “Since I became sick, my family had to stop doing it. I really want to do something impactful.”
Aplastic anemia is a rare bone marrow condition in which too few blood cells are produced for the body to function. This leaves patients fatigued and at greater risk of infection and uncontrolled bleeding.
Abraham had a bone marrow transplant in November 2020 as part of a nine-month treatment process. For a time, he had to stay in the hospital for a month. The confinement kept him from playing sports with his friends or attending school, but the activity he missed the most was feeding the homeless.
Months after his surgery, Abraham told WLBT he was “doing good” and that he had no plans of letting his condition get 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 the outlet.
Doctors referred the teen to the Mississippi chapter of Make-A-Wish, and he used that as an opportunity to “turn something painful into something joyful.”
His mom, Miriam Olagbegi, said they were coming home from one of his doctor appointments when Abraham told her that he would like to feed the homeless for his wish.
“I said, ‘Are you sure Abraham?” she recalled. “You could do a lot… You sure you don’t want a PlayStation?’”
The organization made good on Abraham’s wish and committed to feeding at least 80 people in need per month for a calendar year. The event, called “Abraham’s Table,” will be held every third Saturday until August 2022 at Poindexter Park.
Abraham said that some homeless people would come back after getting their plate to sing to them and thank them, a gesture that warms his heart.
The Make-A-Wish Mississippi chapter said Abraham’s wish was 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,” said Linda Sermons, a Make-A-Wish Mississippi wish assistant.
Abraham’s mom would often tell him that “it’s a blessing to be a blessing,” forming part of his motivation to help people in need around him.
Knowing the message got through to her son melts Miriam’s heart.
“As parents, we could only hope to raise good, God-fearing, productive members of society,” she told CNN. “Sometimes we get things wrong and sometimes we get things right; so it’s nice to see when things go right.”
Abraham hopes to one day get food trucks and plants to start a nonprofit under the name “Abraham’s Table” to continue supporting people in need.
What a wonderful young man! This story also reminds us that words leave a mark on our children, so let’s make sure to instill them only with valuable philosophies.
Learn more about Abraham’s Table in the video below.