Since its inception, the Make-A-Wish® Foundation has granted wishes to thousands of children with life-threatening diseases from across the United States. While the majority of wishes involve a trip to Walt Disney World, meeting a favorite celebrity or taking a dream vacation, Michael McDonough had a more unique wish, and Trilix’s Video Department was honored to capture it.
Michael was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare but serious disorder that causes severe skin reactions, often as a side effect of medications. In Michael’s case, the medication he took to help with epilepsy likely triggered this additional hardship. Like many Midwestern kids, Michael enjoys spending his days on his family’s farm. And throughout his health challenges, Michael has continued to find comfort and hope in his love for showing cattle, which is what inspired his wish.
Michael asked Make-A-Wish Iowa for a custom-designed Featherlite livestock trailer to help with showing cattle. The trailer received special attention during production, with Featherlite employees adding exterior lighting, a painted roof rail and a polished exterior. The production team even added an Iowa State Cyclones flag — Michael’s favorite team — so everyone could easily identify it as his trailer.
When Make-A-Wish Iowa chose to grant Michael’s wish, it was the nonprofit’s 4,000th granted. To honor the milestone, the organization partnered with Trilix to feature Michael’s wish story. Our video team captured the love, perseverance, happiness and gratitude that surround the story of Make-A-Wish Iowa and the McDonough family. We hope the result is a wish story they can cherish forever.
Members of our video team spent five days with the McDonough family, traveling more than 1,000 miles to meet them, record footage and understand what Michael’s wish meant to everyone who helped make it happen.
“This was a great opportunity to help Make-A-Wish Iowa tell their story, showcase how they make wishes come true and feature Michael and the process of granting his wish.“Chad Adams, Trilix senior video production manager
Michael’s wish was funded by Gerb Smith — a man who had never met Michael but had heard about his condition and wanted to help. Gerb played a huge role in granting this wish, and our team was there to capture when Michael met Gerb for the first time, a key moment in creating this documentary-style video.
“Video shooters/producers get to meet a variety of special people throughout our travels, and I will never forget meeting Michael. He is a charming kid with a great outlook on life.”
“The best part of shooting this wish story was meeting Michael and his family,” said Chad. “Video shooters/producers get to meet a variety of special people throughout our travels, and I will never forget meeting Michael. He is a charming kid with a great outlook on life.”
The wish story debuted at the Make-A-Wish Iowa Gala in March 2020. We want to thank the McDonough family for welcoming our video team into their home and for sharing their story. We are also grateful to Make-A-Wish Iowa for allowing us to capture this heartfelt, memorable wish on camera.