tv Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa NBC June 2, 2019 5:30am-5:59am PDT
robert handa: hello, and welcome to "asian pacific america." ♪ i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. today, we highlight the make-a-wish program. we'll look at the program and the upcoming wish-a-thon for miles event here at nbc bay area. and then we showcase some of the make-a-wish families and their children, and their inspiring, touching, and compelling stories all on our show today. well, make-a-wish is such a well known program, but do we really know what it's really all about? joining us to make sure we all know is first of all phillip yim, the san francisco and monterey bay wish coordinator for make-a-wish greater bay area. a wish granter and volunteer since 2001, he is a fluent cantonese speaker who has ed and also with us here, we're happy to have kelsey wetzstein, a corporate development associate
for make-a-wish greater bay area. welcome to the show. kelsey wetzstein: thanks for having us. robert handa: as i said, you hear about make-a-wish all the time. i think people just kind of think they know, but give us sort of an overview in terms of what the program is. phillip yim: make-a-wish was founded in 1980, or 1984 in the bay area. so far, we granted about 8,000 wishes in the bay area. mainly it's really give kids some hope and joy through their treatment and when they have illnesses, but something to look forward to. robert: right, and i made a reference to the make-a-wish for miles event that we're having here at the station. give us an idea when you hear for miles, what does that mean? kelsey: yeah, so in the bay area, we grant about 400 wishes a year. a majority of those are travel wishes. so, we are looking to raise about 5 million miles through our wish-a-thon in hopes that in the bay area.e kidsve tir wid robert: now, we've done some
storie i think that one of the things i always want to make sure people understand is that it isn't just a matter of granting wishes to make somebody happ it gives people a hope, and it also shows that ifmebody opportunity, especially if it's something that they want to do, it can change them and change them for the better, right? phillip: oh yeah, definitely. a lot of times, especially when i grant wishes, you know, throughout the process, especially on wish day, for example i just did a shopping spree last weekend. they really--during the wish, they're really not--they don't remember that they actually have a medical condition. they're just focusing on the wish. so, for shopping spree, the kid went to apple store and just shopped until--you know, until he dropped and bought a whole bunch of things. and really just didn't even remember that he actually have an illness. but then there's something to look forward to too, right? when they were waiting for that wish to happen. robert: yeah, in fact, that's kind of been a wish of mine too. yeah, i said you've done over 50 wishes.
what's maybe the most unusual? what was the most maybe rewarding for you? they're all rewarding, but which is maybe the most unusual? and that was not even the original wish. the original wish that he wanted was to have a guitar. and the mom took me aside and say, "hey, you know, actually that's not really his real wish because he didn't think that the real wish could happen." so, i went back to the kid, you know, moments later and say, "hey, your mom said that you actually have something else that you want to wish for. what is it?" and he said that, "oh, i want to meet barack obama." i said, "oh, well, let us know that because, you know, we can't guarantee it, but we can definitely try to make it happen." and through a lot of media connections and whatnot, we were able to do that. so, a few months later, he flew to one of barack obama's campaign event in reno, nevada. and so, he met him, and eventually barack got--president barack obama got elected. and then he was able to actually go to his inauguration through nancy pelosi's office.
robert: sounds like a wish upon a wish upon a wish. phillip: and that's why we always say that, you know, kids should just really let us know what they really, really want and not worry about whether we can grant a wish or. robert: you know, it sounds so great, but it can't be behind the scenes very easy to be able to meet the demand, fulfill these wishes. what do you want people to understand in terms of the process and maybe how the public can help in fulfilling wishes? kelsey: yeah, i mean, there are so many ways the public can help. we need kids referred. we need help in so many ways, and especially with these miles. like i said, we have so many kids wishing to travel in our territory specifically. so, all the miles that are being donated through wish-a-thon are really going to help local kids have those wishes granted. and that's something we always need help with. and there's so many other ways to help. they can always visit our website at sf.wish.org if they want to find other ways to help as well. robert: give people sort of an idea in terms of what you find so rewarding about being part of this and something
that they can also feel as well. kelsey: yeah, i mean, these people are going through so much more than i could imagine. i personally have a connection to make-a-wish, one of my best friends was a wish kid when she was younger, so this is kind of a full circle for me. but i think that we're doing so much, and we can always use more help, and we're so appreciative for the work we're able to do, and we want to do more. and we want to reach all the kids we should be reaching in our territory. robert: amen to that, right? phillip: yeah. robert: okay, well, thank you very much for being here. keep up the good work, such a great program. kelsey: thanks for having us. robert: the make-a-wish greater bay area and comcast nbc universal family wish-a-thon for miles will take place tuesday, june 25 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. here at nbc bay area at 2450 north 1st street in san jose. for more information, go to nbcbayarea.com. so, let's get to some of those families and the families that saw their wishes fulfilled. coming up, how about going to paris? how about attege ryder cu?
robert: and we are back with our first make-a-wish family. we are here with wish recipient, liam ayer, and his mom, amy, and dad, andy. now liam, battling cancer, had a wish to go to one of golf's biggest events, the ryder cup, a biannual competition between the us and europe. last year, it was in europe, and so that's where the family went, paris. and they saw golf, ate escargot, and toured the city of love. welcome to the show. liam, what'd you think of paris? liam ever: it was amazing. robert: yeah, in what way? liam: it was just anything you'd it was like a dream. robert: and you wanted to go to paris for what reason before you went? liam: because there's a ryder cup, it's a huge golf tournament where europe goes against the us. and i really wanted to go. robert: there's a lot of golf tournaments. why the ryder cup? why was that so special?
liam: because unlike most golf tournaments, it was actually in match play, so it was like more exciting, more like a party. robert: that's the best analysis i've ever heard.erone day? liam: yes. robert: okay, do you golf a lot now? liam: yeah. robert: oh okay, good, so that all fit into what you want to do, huh? liam: yep. robert: how was paris and the whole trip for the family? amy ever: well, that was our first time out of the country, going to europe, and it was just an amazing experience. i mean, i couldn't believe it. the kids were just over the moon when make-a-wish pulled up in a stretch limousine, and so i think that was such a highlight of the trip, especially when our driver missed the turn and he went around a couple times. the kids loved it. robert: it's okay to get lost in paris, right? amy: but you know, just everything, thod we stayed in an airbnb that was just right outside of the city, so we lived like locals, we caught the bus, we walked.
you know, it was just such a great experience, and everyone was so nice. we loved it. robert: almost like your wish too, huh? amy: yeah, it really was. robert: andy, in terms of, you know, you watch your son going through all these different things and everything, what did you think was kind of the most beneficial thing that came out of this trip? andy ever: it actually gave him something to look forward to, right? i mean, going through this, to be honest with you, we have a daughter olivia, and it was almost as if one person lived at the hospital with liam for half the week and the other person lived at home, so it was almost like we're both two single parents. and so, what this did and what make-a-wish did, you know, providing us the full experience in paris, it was we were able to just be a family again, you know? because going through for almost a and in the hospital, it was like a single family. know? you know, i felt like a single parent, she felt like a single parent. and then when we were in paris, it was like we're a family again. you know, first time out of the country
to do something like this. td greatest experiences, it makes the world smaller. you know, traveling abroad definitely makes the world smaller. makes them say, "hey, everybody is like us. it's just we speak a little bit of different languages, eat different foods." but it was just amazing. robert: and amy, it isn't really just sort of a singular experience, is it? i mean, after you've been able to do that, get that sort of feeling of being a family and everything, it changes the way you go forward now, right? amy: right, absolutely, so, you know, it's just--i'm sorry, i'm just speechless and i get kind of sort of choked up thinking about it. just that, you know, it was very tough, you know, being in the hospital and going through what we did. and then you appreciate what normalcy now means. and then to have a wish, a huge wish like this granted, it just, you know, makes you appreciate everything, your day to day life. and then it also makes us look forward to other experience that we, you know, would be able to have in the future as well.
robert: absolutely, like him becoming a pro golfer one day, right? liam: well, that's one of his things he wants to do. robert: what are some of the other things you want to do? robert: okay, yeah, keep those sights low. you know, the thing is that i see a lot of youngsters in hospitals and everything, and sometimes it really affects them a lot. you are a very strong individual because you have a great personality and you seem very confident. do you feel like you have that inside of you all the time? did the trip help a lot in bolstering that? liam: the trip did. like, because like before i was like happy before going into the hospital, then afterwards i kind of got depressed and, like, fearful. but then the trip kind of, like, reversed it and made me not feel that anymore. robert: being a world traveler and having that experience and, as your dad was saying, seeing the world smaller has that helped you a lot in terms of how you kind of want to go forward? liam: yes, 'cause now i feel like everyone's equal, like everyone's human like us, so.
robert: so you had your wish, what's your next wish? liam: my next wish would be maybe traveling out of the country again to go to, like, italy or spain or-- robert: oh, that's right, we were talking about that, huh? liam: yeah. robert: okay, maybe we'll see you in italy. we're trying to plan a trip like that, okay? there you go. hey, thank you very much for sharing that with us. amy: thank you so much. robert: liam, keep it up, okay? liam: okay. robert: all right, you're a real inspiration. liam: thank you. robert: well, next we have another make-a-wish family. they're children with a most unusual wish, to be a spokesperson for a cause close to his heart. see what it's all about coming up.
our next wish recipient had a very unusual wish. here with us now is jack chai. jack deals with a blood disorder, and his wish was to become the spokesperson for bone marrow awareness, to record a psa, publwelcome to the show. to b, jack chai: thanks for having met to be a spokesperson? what was it about your experience that made you feel like you wanted to do that? jack: yeah, so i was very lucky, and i found a bone marrow match.
and it's really hard for some people, especially if they're asian or non-white. and you know, the more people in the registry, the better the odds of someone getting a match. so, you know, i wanted to, you know, help those people who, you know, weren't as lucky as i was and still are looking for matches. robert: yeah, when you said hard, do you mean hard to get them to be a donor, or hard to find matches? yeah, just more pe iard to find matches in general. robert: yeah, yeah, and i mean, is it the more asian-americans, more pacific islanders helps asian-americans, pacific islanders? jack: yeah, yeah. robert: oh okay, got it. do me a favor, tell me a little bit about,e,hawas going to happ. tell us a little bit if you don't mind about what you went through during that moment jack: yeah, so i mean, back then i wasn't really, like, thinking about that. i knew it was important, but i didn't really see, like,
quite how important it was until, like, after. robert: yeah, yeah. did you have a kind of faith that it was going to happen too? jack: yeah, so i mean, i just trusted that my doctors would, you know, get me better. and you know, i just, yeah, let them do everything, and it worked out. robert: so, then it worked out. so, then when did you come to the awareness that how lucky you were? jack: i mean, when i got the wish, like when they said, "yeah, you can have a make-a-wish," you know, initially i didn't really want anything because, you know, i was healthy again. robert: that was your wish. and that's what made me decide to-your pue announcement, but jack: yeahdi ay, got it. let's take a look at it, and then we'll talk about it afterwards. jack: i'm alive today because someone like you decided to save the life of someone they didn't even know. last year, i was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening
blood disease called aplastic anemia. seems like, oh, you might just miss, you know, the first three days of school, but that evolved into we don't know how much time you're going to miss. one of the only cures was a bone marrow transplant. sometimes, finding a bone marrow match can be very hard. alan: he was very lucky being asian and finding a match. and for most non-white people, that's not the case. the registry is very white. jack: this is why we need more people to sign up for the bone marrow registry. deborah: when jack found out he could have a wish, he sort of thought about different things that you could do. jack: i kind of got what i wanted, which was to be back in school and, you know, see all my friends again. i just felt like i wanted to help people who weren't as lucky as i was. it's so cool, painless, and easy, and you can save a life. all you have to do is swab your cheek. robert: okay, well, that psa was published on the make-a-wish greater bay area youtube channel and started on april 9.
so, what do you think about it when you see it now? jack: well, i mean, i have--like not as far out from transplant in that, in the psa. and it's kind of weird to look back and see kind of like how young i was just like a year ago. robert: believe me, we all go through that on tv. how about in terms of, you know, why you chose that, though? i mean, did you feel as though it just was important that somebody who went through it, as well as somebody who is of asian descent, actually speak up? jack: yeah, well, my donor was a 23-year-old from--well, it was from australia, but then they said it was from new zealand. but you know, it was really, yeah, inspiring. robert: of asian descent? jack: well, we don't know, but we're guessing, but yeah. robert: okay, in terms of the future, having done that,
does that kind of fit into, maybe somethingsing, but yeah. that you'd like to do later? jack: yeah, i mean, i would definitely keep trying to get people to sign up. and i think that'll always be a part of me. robert: we heard your public service announcement, but the people who are out there who are watching who haven't done that, who haven't registered, what do you want them to understand or to know? jack: well, to register, it is like really, really simple 'cause you just go online, fill out a form, and then they mail you a swab kit. you know, you swap your cheeks and send it back and you're in the registry. it's like that simple. robert: it's easy, and you said it the best. thank you for doing that. jack: yeah, thank you. robert: all right, well, let's hear from another wish recipient.l, so stay with us to see how that wish turned out.
tto harrison, the wine tcollection.. grace, you get the beach house, just don't leave the lights on, okay? to mateo, my favorite chair. to chris, the family recipes. to jamie, well, let's just say, enjoy the ride. the rainbows to the proud. the almonds to walter. the beaches to the bums. and the fog to, who else, karl. i leave these things to my heirs, all 39 million of you,
on one condition. that you do everything in your power to preserve and protect them. with love, california. i remember hearing about the northern lights as a beatles fan and their fascination with northern lights. with me right now is thu vu, who deals with an autoimmune disorder and has had a fascination herself with the northern lights, which many people call nature's light show, also known as the aurora borealis.
welcome to the show. now, i remember why i was taken by the lights. and what made you decide, first of all, why you wanted to see the northern lights? thu vu: well, i think because it's like it's such a rare thing to see, and, like, really exquisite. and it's just like really pretty. so, i've seen, like, pictures online and videos online, but it'd be more amazing to see it in reafe thu: yeah, sadly. robert: however, make-a-wish is more than just when you were there?ghwhat elo thu: well, so the wish granters or whoever coordinated the wish, they were able to like get me--or get a lot of other activities for me to do. so, i was able to do, like, husky sledding. so yeah, that was really fun. robert: that would have been. thu: and then also, like, snowmobile rides. and the new also got to try, like, their delicacy, like reindeer meat and bear meat. and that was like really interesting. robert: and this was in finland, right, where your thing--had you traveled much prior to that?
thu: yeah. robert: where had you been before? thu: i go to australia often and mexico. robert: so, it's not out of the way to think that one day you will end up in finland with better weather, right? that still remains a goal? thu: yeah, of course. robert: give me dehow d you rea? did it change you a little bit? did you feel different after having comck i've ever been o m all the activities we got to do. what the family wanted to do. robert: well, that's actually a very good point, huh? did you get a sense of, like, what you want to do, like, in the future? did it change you, like your perspective on things at all? like i don't know, what do you want to do in the future, and how did this trip maybe help you?
thu: i think it's definitely made my love for traveling, like, even greater. so, i definitely want to continue traveling a lot more in the future and continue seeing all these different sights. robert: you seem like a very confident person. did the make-a-wish thing help you in that way? thu: yeah, i think it did. like, the trip gave me a little more confidence, and it made me, like, more relaxed and, like, happy i guess. robert: they're trying to gemore pple to participate you t helped you and why you would want people to consider it? thu: to consider-- robert: being a donor, signing up for being a match, things like that. thu: i think it's just like to be able to help those who aren't as fortunate and just kind of, like, give them strength and hope for the future. robert: yeah, and then participating beyond that now because we were talking earlier about those
are the stages for make-a-wish. you know, people being parts of those different kinds of programs. for you, what would be the thing that you would want the public to kind of know about what you went through and how it helped you? thu: well, i-- robert: i know the confidence a big part. thu: and then just kind of being able to share with, like, others. a conversation starter when i want to talk about what i have ratheo finland because of make-a-wish, because i have lupus." so, it's like easier to talk about what i've been going through. "oh hi, i have lupus." robert: right, well, thank you for coming on to talk about it. we appreciate it. and let me know when you do see the northern lights. take some pictures, okay? thu: okay. robert: well, you can find more about make-a-wish, the upcoming wish-a-thon at nbc bay area on june 25, as well
as the wishes you heard about today by going to our website, nbcbayarea.com. we're also on social media, twitter and facebook. and you can follow me on twitter: @rhandanbc. and that's it for our show today. our thanks to the make-a-wish organization and the make-a-wish families that joined us today. we really appreciate you sharing your stories with us. "asian pacific america" will be back next week, and my wish is that we'll see you then. thanks for watching. ♪ ♪
m . most devastating day in the history of virginia beach. >> dear lord, please keep everyone safe. if we had confidence the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so. shame on the missouri government good morning good morning and welcome to sunday "today" on this june 2nd i'm willie geist virginia beach and the country