Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation Yahshua Holland, 16, got to fulfill a lifetime dream when he recently met comedian Steve Harvey.
By Charles Moseley
There’s a line in the movie, The Wiz, when Dorothy, the role played by Diana Ross, exclaims, “Dreams do come true, if only you BELIEVE.”
In May of this year, Teresa Brown did some research to learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation (MAWF). Then, on a whim, she decided to share her heartbreaking story of overcoming the loss of loved ones and almost losing her new born child with representatives of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Apparently Brown’s story did not fall upon deaf ears.
On the contrary, about a month later Brown heard back from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which had some good news. Her 16-year-old son Yahshua Holland’s wish to meet Comedic Actor Steve Harvey was granted. The next thing she knew she and her son were on a jet headed west to Dallas, Texas where Yahsua met Actor/Comedian Steve Harvey in person.
“The Make-A-Wish Southern Florida grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. A fulfilled wish transports a child from the routine of doctors and hospitals into a world of carefree fun and excitement. It creates an indomitable spirit within the child to help sustain him or her through difficult times. A wish is more than just a nice thing; a wish experience can be a game-changer for a child with a life-threatening medical condition,” said Richard Kelly, executive vice-president of Brand Advancement and Chapter Operations Make-A-Wish Southern Florida.
MAWF granted Yahshua the dream of a lifetime by sending him to Dallas, Tex.; the location of a mentoring summer camp sponsored by Harvey, the host of the popular TV game show, Family Feud.
“One day I just went online and contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation to share my son’s story, and a month later they granted him his wish to meet his idol Steve Harvey!”
Due to a mix-up by camp officials, Yahshua’s initial camp experience got off to a rocky start when he found himself in the middle of some rigorous boot camp activities, the likes of which proved more than he bargained for, let alone handle.
“After the youths (boys) were escorted off of the bus and taken to their tent, along with the 100 boys, Yahsua was ordered to run up and down the hills, three consecutive times non-stop and then drilled to climb rock (rock climbing) and other assertive team building exercises, Yahshua was not recognized as the Wish kid”, even though he was wearing his Make A Wish Foundation t-shirt. The Foundation assured us that we would have been re-cognized apart from the rest who were there,” said Brown.
After a period of time, Yahshua said to the army soldiers that he was exhausted, and feeling weary hoping that he was not going to do anymore running climbing or nothing!!!!!!!!!!! They scolded him, yelled at him, and did a lot of name calling.
After being seen by the medics, they realized he was the ”Wish Kid sent there through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He wanted to have his wish fulfilled: hang out with Steve Harvey, Spend Quality Time, and chat about his show Family Feud and other things, he wanted to talk about that he hasn’t opened up to anyone about,” added Brown.
Yahsua said Harvey “was cool.” And even though he didn’t get to hang out with Harvey as much as he would have liked, he did come away with a memento of the occasion. Harvey’s body guard gave the teen his very own autographed hat from the comedian!
By all outward appearances, Yahshua appears just like a typical Black teenager, right down to his braided hairstyle. He’s into rap music and loves playing video games. His favorite rapper is Lil Wayne and he enjoys playing “Madden” on his PlayStation 3. Although he loves sports the congenital heart condition he was born with prevents him from participating in high contact sports like football.
Young Yahshua loves school and says he is looking forward to attending Whiddon-Rogers High School next year. Yahshua also hopes one day to become a race car driver.
Life hasn’t been easy for 16-year-old Holland and his mother. The pair certainly have had their share of disappointments in life.
Imagine one of the happiest days of your life suddenly turning into one of sadness almost in a blink of an eye. Well, that describes what happened 16 years ago to Brown when a day of joy and new beginnings turned into one of uncertainty and pain. Imagine going through a nine month pregnancy and labor, and the elation of hearing the doctor say, “It’s a boy!” Then experiencing the wonders of giving life to your child only to have your dream suddenly turn into a nightmare, upon hearing from that same doctor, that more than likely, your newborn had only a few days to live!
Sadly, this turn of events isn’t taken from the script in a plot of a Tyler Perry movie; this happens to be the real life story, which began 16 years ago, when Brown received a diagnosis that her newborn son had a life-threatening congenital heart disorder. At only six months old, Yahsua underwent open heart surgery. To the surprise of Brown’s medical caretakers, Yahsua not only survived but continues, to this day, to be the love of her life.
“My doctor witnessed the manifestation and power of God which superseded their diagnosis!”
Unfortunately a series of family losses ensued in subsequent years.
“My challenges first began when Yahsua’s biological father, Charles Clark, passed and we both were at his bedside, extending our love as we peacefully expressed our farewell!!!
“Secondly, we were faced with the loss of my mother, whom Yahsua showered with love. Thirdly, my husband Keith Brown, was also called home by God, and six months later God also called my father to his resting place,” said Brown.
Growing up without a father has not been easy on Yahsua. He has faced both physical and emotional battles through the years. According to his mother, it has been “like a roller coaster ride,” for her son.
Brown was left with a tremendous burden to carry and left without the support system that she had counted on for years.
“In light of these challenges, we experienced a warfare that aroused up against us, leaving not enough places to hide and run for shelter, so that our wounds would heal from all the grief that we so longed for and yearned to do so!”
Obviously these personal set-backs had a strong impact and took an emotional toll on both Brown and her young son. Although her faith was challenged, she said she found even greater resolve in knowing that God would pull them through those trying times.
“I knew that my son was looking to me to pull us through, all the while I was leaning and depending on the promises of God! While we prayed to God!! Challenges, obstacles continued to play and have its part in our life. My determination to stand firm on God’s word without wavering with the application of faith is why I would like to reach out to single parents – whichever is absent – to let you know that the situation that you are going through or whatever trial is before you “hold on to God’s word and His promise because we are a living Testimony that if God said it, you believe it and get ready to claim it. In doing so the key is to seek ye first Gods kingdom of heaven,” added Brown.