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Carsten's wish: roll, race, wish!

Carsten creates a cancer-fighting board game

“ ... he wants to create a healing-themed board game to give hope to the children on the other side of the world. ”

Carsten examines an early version of his game – Carsten’s wish. He remembers his eye-opening trip to India and playing Ben’s video game.

When Carsten was diagnosed with leukemia he often played the game about fiCarsten creates a cancer-fighting board gameghting cancer by Ben Duskin – a wish kid and a leukemia patient too.

After thinking about his wish for months Carsten wondered what would happen for a child in India – a developing nation – diagnosed with leukemia. So this 8-year-old boy – dealing with the challenges of his own critical illness – tells Make-A-Wish® volunteers he wants to create a healing-themed board game to give hope to the children on the other side of the world.

Mattel’s board gaming team - who produced Uno and Pictionary - learns of Carsten’s wish and can’t wait to work with him. Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic sends Carsten and his family to Los Angeles to discuss every detail with designers.

This wish kid creates a sketch of the board, based on The Game of Life and shows it to them. And beyond the look of the board, Carsten has some requirements to encourage the tone for the game and its players. There are no winners, or losers, he says. Instead, the players work together to help the patient drive cancer into remission. Each player takes the role of someone involved in the young patient’s life: mother, father, sister, doctor, nurse and other hospital staff. Plus the game would include educational cards to explain all the procedures involved in helping a cancer patient heal. Carsten creates a cancer-fighting board game

When Mattel’s staff unveils the prototype of Carsten’s Wish, Carsten and his family are amazed.

“I was overwhelmed,” Carsten’s mother, Adrienne says. “They incorporated every one of Carsten’s ideas. It was very professional and creative!”

Carsten is thrilled to finally play his game saying his favorite part is the end of the game. That’s when a figure of the cancer patient emerges from a box with its “hair” restored, signaling the end of treatment.

With Carsten’s approval, his game is ready to come to life. Mattel produces 25 top-quality copies. Some are going to India with others staying at hospitals near Carsten’s home to give seriously ill kids some much-needed optimism during their treatments.

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What an inspiration! To be 9 years old, battling leukemia, and to have his Wish be one that will help others is amazing. What a selfless, wonderful, story! Congratulations Carsten! Keep up the good work and God bless you always!

February 24, 2008 - 8:26 AM


This is such an awesome wish! I'm sure Carsten is such an inspiration to many other sick children. As a wish granter I would love to see more than 25 copies of this game out there. I think it would definitely be a fun way to help bring some more hope into many other young lives.

April 03, 2008 - 10:35 AM


Carsten, you are an incredible boy for wanting to use your experience to help others through a scary time. Children in India are very lucky to have had you come visit their magical country. I wish you and your family all the best and lots of health!

April 13, 2008 - 3:35 PM


The wonderful thoughts that come out the mouths of our babies.As adults we should all be on one accord and think positive as our kids.That was very considerate of you Carsten. I hope that you are healed and may God continue to bless you and your family. I know the challenges, I have an 11yr old battling a kidney disease for the past 4yrs. God bless

September 13, 2008 - 9:53 PM


It is so amazing how we label them as "kids" but it is so obvious that they wear such a bigger hat. Justin's creation is amazing and doesn't sound like something a "kid" would come up with. He is truly an angel here helping others as he selflessly fights this horrible illness. God Bless you Justin. You make me, "an adult" want to be so much better.

November 25, 2008 - 9:54 AM


I think this was a great idea Carsten had. I wish they had produces more copies. I know I would have bought one not only for the local Childrens' hospital, but another one to use with kids in general as an important learning experience.

January 30, 2014 - 2:04 PM


Children never fail to amaze. To be so young, and when you're told you can have pretty much whatever you want, you choose to help people you'll never even meet. Absolutely awesome.

March 11, 2014 - 9:47 AM


What an inspiring story ! While battling leukemia at such a young age, Carsten's wish is to make a positive difference in the lives of other people ! Truly inspiring and here's to wishing Carsten a wonderful future.

December 10, 2014 - 10:33 PM

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