WISH GRANTED: Hope teen receives surprise from Toyota Material Handling

COLUMBUS, Ind. — HOPE — Toyota Material Handling North America has granted a big wish for a Hope teen whose just wanted a way to stay close with his friends while he recovers from Hodgkins lymphoma.

Just over a year ago, Joe Newcomb, who lives near Hope, finished radiation for a tumor that was part of his treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, while the radiation was completed in late 2019, Joe’s mother, Melissa Newcomb, recalls that he was “very slowly trying to recover and get the pain under control” for all of 2020.

The year wasn’t made any easier by global (and local) changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the pandemic, Joe and his friends weren’t able to get together as often as they would’ve liked to over the summer and through the year,” Melissa said.

So, when Joe, who is 17 years old, had the chance to make a request of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he asked for a way to connect with his friends — virtually.

The teen asked for Nintendo Switches and Minecraft for five of his friends, as well as a Switch for himself (to replace one that was in bad shape). This way, his friends who didn’t already have the devices would be able to connect with those that did.

“This is something that they enjoy doing sometimes, and it’s a way for them to connect even when they’re not together,” Melissa said.

Joe had considered some other ideas such as a shopping spree, trip or “revamping” his bedroom.

“It just came to me, I guess, that I wanted to hang out with my friends more, so I got the Switches so we could hang out together online,” he said.

For the complete story, see Monday’s Republic.