(I’ve been trying to get the time to write this up for a while now, I feel bad it’s taken me so long to publically thank the individuals and groups involved. That’s a reflection on my poor time management, not our gratitude.)
So, we talked a little about the Make-a-Wish process for Machen, which was such a fun day for him.
But a couple of days later, Michael, one of the volunteers, texted with an idea—instead of buying a complete system, why not buy components (saving a few bucks in the process) and then have Machen build the system with some help from BSU Computer Science department? Not only does he get the system he wants, but he gets a great experience—and he hopefully learns a thing or two.
How do you say no to that? What a great idea. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, but I used to love building/tinkering with computers (until my limited knowledge base was left in the dust by advances, and my willingness to experiment was crushed by my budget)—we were sure he’d have fun with it.
It took a little longer than we expected—which was utterly fine, I want to stress. Life happens for everyone (even for non-profit groups. Maybe especially for non-profit groups). But in July (I said this was overdue), Mildred (the other volunteer, I think I forgot to use names last time) and Austin (a Mission Delivery Coordinator) presented Machen with his parts. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen his eyes as big as they were when we drove up and saw the components.
I should also add, that the local Baskin-Robbins was cool enough to let them use their outdoor seating for the presentation and even through in some ice cream and B-R swag! Which was another unexpected bit of generosity?
Then Austin hooked us up with a graduate and instructor of Boise State’s Gaming, Interactive Media and Mobile Technology (GIMM) program who came out and helped Machen build it.* The amount of time these two put in the first night was amazing—especially the graduate, Jake, who stayed until it was almost technically morning.
* Locals will understand how much I appreciate them as this is likely the first time I’ve ever said anything positive about BSU in writing. As a member of an Idaho Vandal family, it’s hard to do.
And yes, I said the first. For a good dose of reality for Machen, it didn’t go all that smoothly. This is a computer, not a Lego set. There were a couple of minor hiccups (no big deal) and a few laughs along the way. But eventually, they hit a roadblock that couldn’t be fixed quickly. So, we arranged for Jake to come back later to finish. A couple of weeks later (our delay, something I’ll talk about soon), he sacrificed most of a Saturday afternoon to wrap things up.
In the end, Machen learned a lot and had a great time building this machine that inspires jealousy in his family members and friends.
That’s one of the most genuine smiles I’ve ever gotten from him with a camera.
So again, from the bottom of our hearts, the Newton family wants to thank Nampa’s Baskin-Robbins, Idaho Make-A-Wish, Michael, Mildred, Austin, Daniel, and Jake for their time, effort, generosity, graciousness and many other ineffable qualities.
And hey, if you have the means—support Idaho Make-A-Wish (or your local chapter). These incredible people can’t make sick kids’ lives a little richer without help.