It may not be easy, but Justin Campbell is still hanging on to make his dreams come true.
I wrote about Campbell back in August when he was first getting started. He was laid off from his job and decided to take something he had a passion for and turn it into his new career.
Campbell started A Wish Remembered. His goal was to video tape and document when kids through the Make a Wish Foundation had their wishes granted.
"It's just an incredible thing when you watch a child's wish being granted," Campbell told me at the time. "They don't even realize they have cancer sometimes. To them it's the perfect day and it's my job to give the parents back their perfect day. I wrote on my website that I'll do this until they put me in a pine box. I totally believe it's a great thing, and a great cause."
Well it hasn't been easy. Campbell asked for donations to keep his little business running, but the meager donations he got just weren't enough.
Eventually he decided he may have to return to a normal job, so he applied at the Arizona Department of Corrections. He was accepted, but before he could arrive at training he got a call to say his file had been messed up and he needed to re-do the medical portion of his application. He took it as a blessing. Maybe he wasn't supposed to work for the Department of Corrections.
Campbell came across Ryan House and realized how in need those families are of a video of their child, so he began to contact who he could and try to figure out how he could provide his services. After getting some run around he decided one day to just drive down there and talk face-to-face to someone in charge. As he was leaving Ahwatukee Campbell got into a car accident that totaled his car. The check from the insurance company was just over $30.
Now he has no car and no real income. Campbell estimates he has enough money for him and his daughter to survive for two more months, but he's not giving up.
I only found out about his predicament when someone from the community emailed me. She told me that Campbell had come out and helped her organization set up some video stuff, and that he had taught them all how to do it so they could produce them on their own. All he asked for were donations. Campbell says he likes to do those little side jobs but he hates to put a price on his work. He also hates to ask for help.
"There are so many other people who are worse off than I am," Campbell said. "The way I look at it, life is going to continue on for me. This weekend or next I'm going to buy a mountain bike and that's how I'll get around Ahwatukee. Things could be worse. We lost our car, but now we just adjust."
Campbell is, of course, disappointed that his dream so far hasn't been able to work out. He wants to be an example to his kids, but for now his example is just to be positive.
Campbell said if there were a way the community could help, it'd be through donations. Not for himself, but he would like to make A Wish Remembered a 501c-3 nonprofit. The last time he looked into making that happen he realized the fees were just too much, but for now it's all he can think of to keep his dream going.
"When I hand the parents that video and give them a piece of their life they're going to want to watch over and over, it's amazing," Campbell said. "To know as a person you can have an impact like that, it's so profound and so cool. I know I have to keep doing what I'm doing, no matter what. I never want to miss an opportunity to do this."
For more information on A Wish Remembered, visit awishremembered.com.
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