The voice of WHS students
This story represents a portion of the recent work produced by The Apple Leaf staff. The Apple Leaf is published by the Advanced Journalism class at Wenatchee High School, under the tutelage of adviser Dave Riggs. The award-winning publication is a forum for expression by the students of Wenatchee High School, affording them a chance to air facts and opinions relative to all issues of concern to them.
He’s friendly and funny. He loves to give and receive high-fives. He has a smile that can light up an entire room, especially when you mention the Seahawks. His name is Gavin Zufall, and his adventures are just beginning.
Zufall, a sophomore, had the opportunity of experiencing the Make-A-Wish program. The program grants a wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories, on average, every 38 minutes.
Zufall and his family are holding strong through adversity. Zufall has cystic fibrosis and is developmentally delayed, which causes his body trouble in absorbing fats and proteins essential to the body.
“He needs medication to get all the nutrients he needs,” said his mother, Karen Davenport.
That, however, does not affect Zufall’s fun times at school, where he enjoys playing basketball in P.E., and in the outside world. He also watches sports and plays video games.
The Make-A-Wish organizers believe that a wish experience can be a game-changer. It inspires them to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids they serve.
“It’s for kids with life-threatening disorders — they either get to meet someone, go somewhere or have something,” said Davenport. “It’s an experience we won’t ever forget.”
Zufall’s wish was to meet the Seattle Seahawks team, but he did much more than that.
“We all left around noon on an airplane from the Wenatchee airport,” Davenport said. “When we got there, people from Make-A-Wish were waiting for us with a sign. It had Zufall’s name and the Seahawks logo all over it.”
The family arrived at the football stadium, where Zufall met quarterback Russell Wilson and other members of the Seahawks. He received autographed, professionally taken photos of the players in action, a football signed by all the Seahawks players, and watched the team warm up. He also had a football locker in the locker room, the name Gavin Zufall engraved on it, right next to Wilson’s. Jim Zorn, Dave Kreig (both former Seahawk quarterbacks) and Taima, the Seahawks mascot, were all introduced to Zufall.
Then, Zufall and his family had prime seats to watch the Seahawks play their first game of the season.
“The game and the practice and the players were awesome!” said Zufall, smiling his big, shy smile.
After the game, the entire family was treated by Make-A-Wish to the Seattle Aquarium, the Space Needle for a splendid dinner and a limo ride to-and-fro.
“It was so much fun, for us and for Gavin, and we’re so happy we could go and grateful to Make- A-Wish,” said Davenport.
The Make-A-Wish program helped change Zufall’s life — it made a wish of his come true and included his family in his special day.
“It’s so big, I don’t know how we’ll fit it on the wall of his room!” said his sister, Brenna Zufall, holding up a ‘Welcome Gavin!’ sign, a gift from the Seahawks. “He sure loves it though.”
“He’s fun to be around,” said Davenport. “He always makes me smile.”
Next time you pass Zufall in the hallway, yell “Seahawks!” and his reaction and beaming grin will make you smile, too.
Kim Elliott is an Apple Leaf staff reporter.