Just what do you think a young boy, who has battled life-threatening medical conditions since he was two, would ask for from the Make a Wish Foundation?
Well, when nine-year-old Michael Kazlowski, Jr., who lives in Southington, Connecticut, was asked what he would wish for, in one breath, he told his mother three things — Disneyland, Sea World and lighthouses in Maine. Michael was diagnosed with cancer when he was two years old and went through a year of chemotherapy. Although his cancer is in remission, he has subsequently been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes tumors to grow along his nerves on or in his body. Michael has tumors on his lower back, a brain tumor and other complications.
Michael’s interest in lighthouses began about three years ago. His mother, Val Kazlowski, who works at the Connecticut State Police Forensic Laboratory, mentioned Michael’s interest to Jim Streeter who also works at the lab. Jim, who is co-chairman of the Avery Point Lighthouse Society, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation and also a member of the Board of Directors for the New England Lighthouse Lovers (NELL), gave Michael’s mother a few extra Harbour Lights “Little Lites of Mine” replicas to give to him. Well, the following day, his mother relayed that Michael was ecstatic over the gifts. Jim then received permission from Michael’s mom to pass the word among NELL members to donate extra lighthouse replicas. The response has been overwhelming and within a period of about nine months, Michael’s lighthouse replica collection has grown to over 50 pieces.
Michael’s mom indicated that the tumors on his back are very painful and although he takes pain medication, often it does not help. Michael’s interest in lighthouses does help him cope and forget about his medical problems, according to his mother. He is constantly reading magazines and looking up lighthouses on the Internet. He
has a subscription to Lighthouse Digest and reads it from cover to cover each month.
Incidentally, Michael’s mother explained to him that he could only request one “Make a Wish” and he decided on Disneyland.
Jim Streeter is working with his mother to arrange a trip this summer to visit lighthouses in Connecticut. Maybe this spring, he will be the first “outsider” to climb the newly restored Avery Point Lighthouse.
In the meantime, if you have any extra lighthouse replicas or other unwanted lighthouse-related collectables, books, magazines, postcards, etc., you might want to consider forwarding them to Michael. His address is 422 Meriden Waterbury Turnpike, Southington, CT 06489. Your gifts would certainly help to “keep the flame” burning in this young boy’s interest in lighthouses.
This story appeared in the
April 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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