Last June, Abraham Olagbegi told his mother his chest hurt after he was running outside. Just hours later, the now-13-year-old collapsed and was rushed to the hospital.
Olagbegi was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a blood disorder. But he received a successful bone marrow transplant in November 2020, and he told USA TODAY that, these days, he’s feeling “90% myself.”
“When I got my transplant I was happy that I was finally officially on the road to recovery,” he said.
After he was diagnosed, Abraham qualified as a Make-A-Wish recipient. The organization grants “wishes” to children "diagnosed with a critical illness currently placing the child’s life in jeopardy," according to its website.
But instead of choosing a gift or a trip, he’s using his wish to feed homeless people in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi.
“Right off the bat, I knew that I wanted to feed the homeless. It just came to me. It’s the first thing that I thought of,” the teenager said.
The Make-A-Wish organization surprised Abraham over the summer by making his dreams a reality. Make-A-Wish is helping him organize an event that will feed approximately 80 people once a month for a year.
Miriam Olagbegi, Abraham’s mother, told USA TODAY, her son had previously joked about wishing for "everybody in the house" to receive a PlayStation.
But after he was accepted for a wish, Abraham decided he wanted to start the food program.
“On the way home from his doctor’s appointment, I was driving when he told me,” Miriam Olagbegi said. “And it was almost one of those moments where you had to pull over.”
Since then, the teen has already held two of the monthly events, and he said helping feed people makes him feel “joyful” and “happy.”
Attendees at his events are "dancing, singing, smiling," Olagbegi said. “It just makes me feel good that they feel good. It just warms my heart.”
Olagbegi has named his program “Abraham’s Table,” and it has received food and supplies from businesses and churches.
The eighth-grader told USA TODAY he wants to be a doctor someday. But until then, he hopes to turn the one-year program into a nonprofit to “continue feeding the homeless.”
Olagbegi said he wants the organization to purchase a food truck to meet homeless individuals “where they are, instead of them coming to us.” He also wants to expand the program to states beyond Mississippi.
Miriam Olagbegi called feeding homeless people “a calling and a ministry” for her son.
“This kid has a special affinity for homeless people, and this is something that is really truly a ministry for him. He really does care about the homeless people,” she said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mississippi teen with rare disorder uses Make-a-Wish to feed homeless