Make-A-Wish Michigan recipient uses his wish to help other pediatric patients

Posted at 5:31 AM, Jul 13, 2023

(WXYZ) — It’s ‘Christmas in July’ at Bronson Children’s Hospital in Kalamazoo. On Tuesday, a playroom in the hospital looked more like Santa’s Workshop complete with a pile of toys for all the pediatric patients there, a magical idea dreamed up by 17-year-old Jude Boussom.

The rising high school senior says he just wanted to give these kids some joy while in the hospital because he’s been there.

“Your health journey began when you were just 15,” 7 Action News morning anchor Alicia Smith asked Jude.

“Yes. Yes," Jude replied. "And that's when I visited the E.R. for the first time because of my severe memory loss.”

It was December 2020 when Jude went to the hospital. He was later diagnosed with a brain tumor which would lead to multiple surgeries, months in the hospital, and chemo and immunotherapy to target the tumor.

“Since then, he's been in remission. It hasn't grown. It's been about two-and-a-half years now, which is just terrific,” Jude's dad Jason Bousson said.

Last year, he learned he was eligible for a wish from Make-A-Wish Michigan. Instead of asking for a special vacation or elaborate gift, he wanted to give gifts to kids in the hospital.

“I feel like I am in a really good spot, and I have a really good, group at home—my parents. So, I just think it would be better paid off for kids that need it more and that are more, in the moment, struggling because I know how hard that was,” Jude said.

It was a selfless request, but Jude had no idea if the wish would be granted. That's until a limousine whisked him away to Detroit’s Shinola Hotel back in April where he got another surprise.

"Yes, it was amazing. Jude was not expecting it. We turned a ballroom into a Christmas theme and had a ton of fun and surprised him and let him know not only are we granting the wish at his hospital that he requested, but we're doing it at hospitals all across Michigan. So so many kids can benefit from his generosity,” Michael Hull, President, and CEO, Make-A-Wish Michigan said.

Jude will be spreading Christmas cheer beyond Bronson Children’s Hospital in Kalamazoo including a stop at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit on July 14 and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor on July 19.

"I really tried to push him to go to Australia, but he was not having that," Jude's dad said. "And obviously, really proud of him for that wish. And, you know, I wanted to make it about him, but he was, he was absolute.”

“Dead set,” mom Rachel Boussom adds.

And to the kids currently fighting various medical conditions at the hospital, Jude has a message: "You're going to get through this and, like, you just got to you got to keep looking on the positive side of things. And you're just going to, you just got to keep fighting, and you're going to make it through.”

When Jude’s gift drop-offs are done, he will have visited hundreds of pediatric patients at six different hospitals and various clinics all across Michigan.

If you’d like to donate toys to Jude’s ‘Christmas in July’ wish, please ship them to the Make-A-Wish Michigan office at 7600 Grand River Avenue, Suite 175, Brighton, MI 48114. You can also make a monetary donation online, here. [] 

Jude and his family want to thank Make-A-Wish Michigan, the donors, volunteers, and the hospital staff for making this possible.