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Author Reflects on his Make-A-Wish Experience


“ Because of his wish, Travis helps children who face adversity. ”

Many writers will attest that putting words on paper can be therapeutic. For Travis, writing became an outlet to build his legacy and see himself and other children through tough times.

“I was hospitalized with cystic fibrosis when I was eight years old and for the first time was meeting other kids with my condition,” said Travis. “So I started writing something that I could share with other sick kids to help us make sense of something scary and turn it into something positive.”

Travis’s story, The Spider Who Never Gave Up, follows the tribulations of Sparkey the Spider, a character created in his own image. The story lifted the spirits of his fellow patients at the hospital. When he had a chance to ask for a Make-A-Wish experience, Travis took a leap of faith and asked to get his book published.

“It was an extravagant wish, but when I saw how much it spoke to other sick kids and changed their perspectives on their situations, I wanted to try and extend that emotional connection to others going through tough times by publishing this story to a wider audience. I wanted to tell them that no matter what they were going through, everything would be okay.”

Now 23 years old with a master’s degree from New York University, Travis visits with children all over the country who are facing adversity, from poverty to illness to bullying. Each child he meets has found something vital in The Spider Who Never Gave Up, now celebrating its tenth year of publication, and what the story represents. Even though he is no longer a kid himself, Travis relates to the kids he meets. He feels that his age instills a sense of hope and offers proof of what one can grow up to accomplish despite limitations.

“I’m so grateful that these kids respond to the story,” said Travis. “There’s a deep understanding between myself and the kids I meet of what the other is going through, and what a great feeling that 10 years after its publication, Sparkey the Spider can still offer a positive outlook to others.”

Though he still deals with cystic fibrosis on a daily basis, Travis chooses to view his illness with a sense of purpose to help others through hard times. He reflects fondly on his experience with Make-A-Wish and the people who helped his wish come true.

“It’s emotional for me because I have been through a lot the last decade, and I have reached points in my health that were really scary,” said Travis. “But I think that this wish and the support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation has catapulted my belief that I am here for a purpose, and it pushes me through. Make-A-Wish definitely shaped who I am today and I can’t even put into words how grateful I am.”

Keep up with Travis on social media:

Travis will appear as a character with cystic fibrosis in the upcoming feature film “Who’s Driving Doug.” The film stars RJ Mitte, Daphne Zuniga, Paloma Kwiatkowski and Ray William Johnson; it was written by Michael Carnick and produced by Katz/Carbonetta.

  • Travis then, and Travis now.

  • Travis unveils his book.

  • A look at the cover of The Spider Who Never Gave Up.

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June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

Debra B.

You are just amazing, Travis! Thanks for having such a big heart and helping so many others.

July 24, 2014 - 9:30 AM

Keto M.

What an amazing young man you are you are truly an angel among our midst. God bless and be with you and you mission

July 24, 2014 - 9:34 AM


Praise God.This is truly amazing story.

July 24, 2014 - 9:34 AM


Travis, you are an inspiration to children of all ages. God bless you and all the children

July 24, 2014 - 9:59 AM

Devon B.

Absolutely amazing, Travis! The world is a better place because of people like YOU!

July 24, 2014 - 10:52 AM

Paul O.

Truly inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story

July 24, 2014 - 11:17 AM

Steven Z.

Great story. My son had CF and fought a battle of it, and ALL along the way. He had a sister 4 years younger than he, who thank God is not even a carrier of the genes. A nursing student wrote a children's book "My brother has CF" about them. I can get you in touch with her and it may also be helpful in your work with other CF patients.

July 24, 2014 - 11:21 AM

Pat V.

Travis you are truly a remarkable and inspiring person. As a 13 year volunteer for MAW I am going to look for this book to take with as an ice breaker when I go out on wishes. Your clear vision of where you want to go in life and I wish an abundance of success. Follow your dream!

July 24, 2014 - 11:58 AM

Sandra C.

What a beautiful story Travis. You are an inspiration to all of us. Good Luck in all you do in your future. God Bless.

July 24, 2014 - 12:31 PM

Mary H

As a wish grantor most of the time you don't hear what happened after the wish celebration with each of these amazing children, so thank you for sharing your story, Travis. It is inspiring to hear of your accomplishments and your pay it forward attitude with other children.

July 24, 2014 - 1:36 PM


Travis - you are a shining example of courage and hope for other sick children. As a Wish Granter myself, I will look for your book and buy it to share with other Make-A-Wish children and my grandchildren. Good luck with your new movie - I see a super star in the making. God bless!

July 24, 2014 - 3:00 PM

Patricia M

Travis, you are amazing. In spite of your own health issues, you give back and make the world a better place. You give me hope. 2

July 24, 2014 - 9:06 PM

Jenny W.

I am proud to say that Travis visited my school when he was working on his book.He spoke with my students about his journey and the importance of perserverance. I have a signed copy of his book on a bookshelf with other treasured items I have collected over my 29 years of teaching. Thanks Make-A-Wish!

July 25, 2014 - 4:53 AM

Marina B.

You are such an inspiration not only to little kid but to grown ups too. I hope you keep writing because you'll be helping loads of people and the feedback you get is great. GO TRAVIS! :))

July 25, 2014 - 6:23 AM


You are an amazing young man Travis Michael Flores and I am honored to know that I helped in some little way to play a part in that. I love you so much!!!

July 25, 2014 - 9:12 AM

Michelle C.

You were an inspiration to me then, and you still are Travis! So glad you are in my life!

July 25, 2014 - 9:13 AM



You have made this old mans day, week, month and year. God bless you and your family. You are a true inspiration to mankind.

July 25, 2014 - 3:31 PM

Linda, Wish Grantor

So awesome...just finished a "Wish" for a 9 yr old CF girl. I can hardly wait to send her your book. She is a voracious reader and will so be encouraged by it I know:) God Bless You Travis!

July 25, 2014 - 4:48 PM


An inspiration and a one of a kind, amazing human. We should all have 1/10th of his courage and love for life.

July 25, 2014 - 8:56 PM

Charles J

A individual success that is heartwarming and restores confidence in a person's desire to share his life's experience with others.

July 26, 2014 - 1:38 PM


Amazing !!!!! Wonderful !!!! I'm at a loss for words ( which RARELY happens ). Thank you. My wife and I are blessed to be part of the Make-A-Wish family.

July 29, 2014 - 11:44 AM

Celia Audrey

Keep on inspiring hope and brightening people's lives! You are making a great change to this world!

July 29, 2014 - 10:25 PM

Kem D.

I have had the privilege of knowing Travis for many years, even before his wish was granted. He has been a fighter but has also had concern & compassion for others, I have heard of many Make-A-Wish wishes, but I can't recall ever hearing of another wish that was for something to help others, especially by someone so young. Travis is a very special young man & I pray that God blesses him in many ways.

July 31, 2014 - 4:26 PM

Nicole G.

My cousin has cystic fibrosis too and it's hard to see him go through all the treatment and coughing and everything not knowing when CF will just take my cousin away from me. He just graduated HS. And reading this Travis gave me hope that my cousin can accomplish his goals and dreams even though he does have CF. So thank you very much.

September 05, 2014 - 4:56 PM

Jackie M.

Hello my beautiful granddaughter also has cf , she is 11 years old . We found out when she was 3yrs old, she is doing great her dad and mom and myself are all on board with her treatments, she is striving very well in school she is on a volleyball team wake boarding and just being a healthy little girl, I would love to know how I can buy this young mans book. I believe that kids like Travis and my granddaughter will make a difference. Please let me know how to get this book for her to read. God bless you Travis Keep up the good work, may your life bring you everything you want :) :)

September 05, 2014 - 8:33 PM

Make-A-Wish America

Hi, Jackie. Travis' book can be ordered online through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and some local bookstores can order it for you to pick up.

September 06, 2014 - 12:30 AM


The courage of this young man is admirable. What an inspiration he is.

September 06, 2014 - 7:46 AM

tim f.

Everyday, every single day I am reminded, insprired, hopeful, thankful and blessed to have you as my son. I only wish I had half of your strength son. I always go back to the day in the elevator at rainbow childrens hospital when the young man was deaf and he was scared and you started a conversation with him by signing which most people don't know you can, and then he smiled and I teared up that's the difference you make you change lives.

October 07, 2014 - 9:12 AM