After undergoing successful heart transplant surgery, 12-year-old Carter Julson was granted a wish by Make-A-Wish Minnesota. Over the years that he battled his serious heart condition, he’d gotten so much support from his community. Teachers, neighbors, friends, family, and even strangers had helped the family make it through the ordeal, and the Princeton, Minnesota, boy wanted to use his wish to repay them all.
Carter’s older brother Drew had been lifting weights at Princeton High School and had mentioned how old and outdated the gym was. That gave Carter an idea to use his wish to have the gym totally rebuilt. His dad asked him if he was sure about his wish, reminding him that he could use it to go to the Super Bowl or on a family vacation, but Carter had made up his mind. At a school board meeting earlier this year, he got permission for his wish to move forward and when word got out, multiple community members approached the Julsons wanting to help with the project.
After months of planning and building, the gym was opened earlier this month, in time for the summer weight-lifting program, which Carter is now healthy enough to participate in. At the opening ceremony of the new gym, Princeton School Board Chair Sue VanHooser thanked Carter for his wish to give back. “Of all the wishes, you chose to give back to your community,” she said. “Thank you for your generous gift.”