Paying it Forward

Logan Sesto was a tiny bundle of non-stop energy. He initiated cheers, he posed for photos, he high-fived and hugged. If he could have, he would have danced with the cheerleaders. Logan seemed to be in his element, taking center stage as special guest at last week’s Fall Rally at Yosemite High.

He was on a mission as he ran (expertly using his walker) to Tammy Thacker, who explained to the enthusiastic student body why Logan had put in an appearance - to promote “Kids for Wish Kids” week, with the ultimate goal of raising $7,500 for a Make-A-Wish child.

A Coarsegold Elementary kindergartner, 5-year-old Logan has Transverse Myelitis (TM), a cousin to Multiple Sclerosis. Because he was a meth baby, Logan was placed in foster care shortly after birth. He was soon returned to his birth mother, but when he was five months of age, he developed a non-traumatic spinal cord injury (TM), and was again placed in foster care.

While his beginning was rocky, there’s a happy ending. Just two short months later, Logan and his natural brother, Gabriel (now 6), were taken in by Michael and Lisa Sesto, and adopted a year later.

Logan is a “wish kid.” Recently, he, along with his family, took a vacation, playing in the warm sands and cold Pacific waves, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“We went to Mission Beach in San Diego for seven days, and Logan was able to knell on a boogie board and ride a wave, while saying ‘cowabunga,’ Mom Lisa said.

Because Logan had so much fun living his wish, the family decided to help make another child’s - a Mountain Area child’s - wish become a reality. And that’s where YHS and other area schools come in.

The campaign to pay it forward began in August, with one week set aside (starting Sept. 25) for “Kids for Wish Kids,” where area students sell blue Make-A-Wish stars for $1 each.

Participating schools include Coarsegold, Rivergold, Wasuma, Spring Valley and North Fork elementary schools, and Yosemite and Minarets high schools. Melinda Grisham of Coarsegold Elementary School was instrumental in getting the schools involved in the fundraising campaign.

“So far, we’ve raised about $3,000. The goal is $7,500,” Lisa said.

The Sestos are determined to raise the money necessary to bring joy to another deserving child and family - to pass the good will forward.

The Central California Make-A-Wish chapter was founded in 1986, and has granted more than 1,800 wishes to children in the eight counties it serves, including Madera.

Because of TM, Logan is a paraplegic. While he has many complications, and has a higher chance of developing MS, Logan is not terminal. (Make-A-Wish changed their eligibility requirements about 30 years ago to include children with life-threatening illnesses.)

Logan is excited to be a part of bringing the same kind of joy he experienced at that San Diego beach to another Mountain Area child, saying, “I’m so happy all the kids are helping me raise money for another kid.”

“We are so very proud of Logan,” Lisa said. “He is very aware of what this campaign means and we hope this instills a sense of giving that will be with Logan and his brother for a lifetime.”

Fundraising for Make-A-Wish won’t end once the Sestos reach their goal. YHS senior Ethan Solomon, also a “wish kid,” has selected Make-A-Wish as his senior project.

To donate for the campaign: