Hoosier teen’s Make-A-Wish trip leads to job

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Make-A-Wish organization grants special experiences for Hoosier children battling life-threatening medical conditions. Every month, CBS4 shares a story about a Hoosier family impacted by Make-A-Wish.

Luke Gelfius is a smart, young man. He's studying electrical engineering at Rose Hulman.

This summer, Gelfius is working as an intern at Allison Transmission writing code to help increase employee productivity.

"I can learn the basics of engineering. As far as working in an office,  I am taking what I learned at school to apply to the real world," said Gelfius.

Gelfius first learned about the Indianapolis based company in 2012.

Allison Transmission sponsored Gelfius' Make-A-Wish trip to Belize. He snorkeled and visited the Mayan ruins with his family.

"I spent a lot of time relaxing there. It made me confirm, in a special way, what it felt like to be normal," says Gelfius.

The 19-year-old was diagnosed early with Crohn's disease, which affects a person's digestive track. Gelfius had part of his colon removed.

Today, Gelfius is healthier than ever and he's is extremely grateful to the employees at Allison Transmission for donating their hard-earned money to fund his Wish trip.

"Allison granted my wish. I want to kinda give back in my own way by serving them and returning a favor. They have inspired me fundamentally as a human being!," said Gelfius.

Melissa Sauer with Allison Transmission tells CBS4 the company sponsors several Make-A-Wish experiences each year through their employee donation program. Allison Transmission matches the money raised.

In Indiana, more than 300 kids are waiting for their wishes to be granted by Make-A-Wish. The average cost of a wish is about $8,000.

Click here to learn more about Make-A-Wish.

Watch CBS4 on the second Wednesday each month for Nicole Pence's special Wishful Wednesday stories.

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