The Force is Strong in Teen with Cystic Fibrosis

by Kimberley McGee
teen overcomes obstacles with Make a Wish

I reached out to local youth leaders and asked if they had any kids or teens that truly stood out to be included in the ongoing Las Vegas Teen Spotlight series. It’s part of the Teen Career Tips series on Vegas Kids Zone. Volunteering can help kids prepare for the future and gain confidence and skills.

 

Volunteering, emceeing, granting wishes and flying through track practice are a small part of this charming teen’s big efforts and contributions to the community.

Hurdles Don’t Slow Him Down

Connor Schriever was born with cystic fibrosis. The Centennial Hills high school sophomore rises two hours before school for treatments that loosen the mucus in his lungs. The daily morning treatments and medications allow him to do all he does as an active teenager, community volunteer and ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“It can be scary, but it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Connor said of his opportunities to emcee events and assist in granting other kids’ wishes as an ambassador for Make-A-Wish. “It’s a lot of fun to do and it really helps people. More than you know.”

 

Forceful Tween Finds Inspiration in a Star

Harrison Ford and Connor

When he was 12, he reached out to Make-A-Wish to make his dream come true.

“I’m a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan,” Connor said. “It’s my life, basically. Hans Solo is one of my favorite characters because, well, he’s not necessarily a good guy, but he comes around and does the right thing.”

In 2017, Connor and his parents, Matt and Charla Schriever, were flown to Los Angeles to meet Harrison Ford. They sat down and talked for hours at a small airport in Santa Monica where the avid aviator Ford parks his fleet of planes. The intimate one-on-one with Ford made a life-long impression on the young fan.

“It’s one of my greatest memories ever,” Connor said. “It was so cool to be able to meet him. He was like a long, lost uncle. It was like we had known him our whole lives.”

From Inspiration to Action

That big moment made a bigger impact on the 12-year-old. He began volunteering in the newly opened The Wishing Place at Make-A-Wish just six months later.

In 2018, he became an emcee for the annual volunteer spotlight event.

“When I first started it was a little scary and I kept messing up a line,” he said. “But it was really fun. I’m glad there was a script!”

While he may have been nervous, it doesn’t come through to the kids and parents who often are inspired by Connor in the many ways he works with Make-A-Wish. In 2019 he became an ambassador for the organization.

“He’s the rare selfless teenager,” Barbara Tapp, COO, Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada, said. “Connor helps us write donor thank you cards, which he signs with ‘May the Force Be With You,’ in Star Wars fan style. He emcees or speaks at our events to tell his story to engage our audience. He will also gladly stand up and tell anyone touring The Wishing Place about his wish, which we feature in a photograph on our Journey of a Wish wall.”

teen overcomes obstacles in vegas

Paying it Forward with Wishes

His best moment with Make-A-Wish had to do with another wish. Connor was one of the ambassadors that surprised a young girl with a trip to the greatest place on Earth during a Walk for Wishes last year. The young girl and her family had no idea that their wish would be revealed by the grinning team of teens headed by Connor at the annual walk.

“It was really cool to see how excited she was to finally get their wish granted,” Connor said. “She had the biggest smile I have probably ever seen on a kid.”

Cystic fibrosis bracelets to raise funds

Connor’s mom, Charla designed these CF bracelets based on what Harrison Ford told him during their day together planned by Make-A-Wish.

Running Past Obstacles

After school, and sometimes before, he runs.

“I never thought I’d like it, and I didn’t at first,” said Connor, who uses a nebulizer and needs around 30 pills a day to combat his cystic fibrosis symptoms.

But he came back. For every track practice, often because of the inspiration he received from the coach and other runners.

“I don’t know why but I kept going because I didn’t really like it at first,” Connor said. “But then it got easier and I really like running. It feels really good to be out there.”

The daily treatments with a heavy vest around his lungs to loosen mucus and medications can take a toll, but not for long for Connor.

“(The vest) is like if someone hugged you really hard and kind of shook you at the same time,” Connor said.

 

Future Looks Bright

 

He continues to volunteer as he works toward a career in 3D design.

“The thought that I am helping other kids like me to have a really fun experience like I did really inspires me,” he said.

Volunteering continues to inspire the ambitious teen.

“I’ve met some new friends through volunteering, and have gotten some of my friends to want to volunteer with me,” Connor said. “As far as career goals go, it has made me want to work harder once I get a job so I can keep helping Make-A-Wish and be able to donate to them a lot.”

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