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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Make A Wish in the Harbor

Spud makes a wish By Rachel Kelly | Photo by Angelia Colglazier

Oliver Colglazier, a.k.a. “Spud,” made his wish with the Make A Wish Foundation last month here in Gig Harbor. To make that wish, he walked and he talked, and eventually drove, his way toward his goal—which is a miracle in itself. “They told us that he, most likely, would never talk or walk. The likelihood of him making it to 2 or 3 was very low. He must’ve heard them. Because every time someone says he won’t be able to do something, he does. And here he is at 18, walking and talking,” says Angelia Colglazier, Spud’s mother. That, in a nutshell, shows you just what kind of person Spud is: his own.

Meet Spud: the 18-year-old Make A Wish recipient who is so much more than his wish. Spud is called Spud because, well, that’s who he is! It’s on his medical charts, it’s what his family calls him, and it’s how he’s known and loved. Spud thinks Sprite is gold and would camp every day of the week if he could. He loves to dress up for Halloween and can’t wait to decorate for Christmas. He loves his gnomes. He loves jazz, Dr. Seuss, Pixar and Disney. He will remind you that the “r” word is not a nice word, and that you should find another one. As his best friend and caregiver will say, “If you think you’re right, Spud will tell you you’re dead wrong. And he’ll probably be right too.” And more than anything, Spud loves his family.

When Spud was born, his prognosis was grim, and the family went through many years of speculation and respiratory infection. In 2016, Spud was still undiagnosed and suffered from a series of medical events. These events led to respiratory failure, where he was in a coma for nearly a month. His family nearly lost him. Thankfully, Spud eventually recovered. Yet he was still without a diagnosis. It wasn’t until 2018 that he was finally diagnosed by his neurologist, who would describe it as an “aha!” moment. As if a light bulb went off in his head, he knew. Spud has Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 (DM1). Myotonic Dystrophy is a rare genetic disease characterized by muscle weakness, stiffness, muscle loss and heart irregularities. Those diagnosed generally live a shortened life span. But, for Spud, he’s not about to let that stop him. He has goals. He wants to drive, for one. It was suggested to Spud’s family that they call the Make A Wish Foundation to see if something could be done about Spud’s goals. So, they did. Make A Wish answered.

Driving wasn’t his first wish though! His first wish involved travel. Which, in this pandemic, was next to impossible. So, Spud moved on to his next wish, which was to drive, though Angelia said that driving was definitely “a no.” Thus, a compromise was born. The Make A Wish Foundation bought Spud a golf cart, complete with accessories from his favorite Pixar character: Lightning McQueen. One of Spud’s non-negotiable requests for the cart was that it had enough seats to carry his nieces and nephews, because that’s how important they are! The local police and fire department were called. It took zero persuasion for them to agree to come out to Spud’s house to see him off on his golf cart in style. Spud was escorted in true fanfare down his driveway while he drove the cart for the first time. After pictures and handshakes, fanfare and fun, Spud and his family settled in with pizza and Sprite surrounded by family and friends. It truly was a day to remember!

As for Spud, what should we expect next? Well. He does have a cult following on his mom’s Facebook. Maybe there’s something in that, some future there. If nothing else, the #spudismoftheday is something to look forward to. A snarky comeback, a different way of looking at something, are all signs that Spud knows how he feels and thinks and is not afraid to express it. We could all use a little more comedic gold in our life, and a little more Spud. Full of wisdom, snark, laughter, and kindness the #spudismoftheday is the family's way of commemorating the everyday. With a quick wit, an uplifting outlook and a loving family, Spud certainly has a lot going for him!

Since Spud just turned 18, he’s looking into a program that helps adults transition into independent living, so Spud may be out on the town soon. It goes without saying that he’ll definitely be driving that golf cart around, and that we may be seeing a lot more of Spud. As for exactly where he’ll go, and what he’ll do next, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Whatever Spud decides to do, it sounds like he does. Whenever others think that it can’t be done, he gets it done. I’m sure that the future holds for Spud what it holds for many of us: surprise and adventure.

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