After falling seriously ill from cancer last year, Phoenix-area teen Jaime Gamez knew exactly what he would ask for when he was contacted by Make-A-Wish Arizona.
He wanted his wish to be lasting – something that would set him up for the rest of his life. That’s why Jaime wished to attend Universal Technical Institute (UTI) so he could train to work on the same massive diesel trucks he’s loved since he was a kid.
During a surprise ceremony Wednesday, Jaime, 18, found out he’ll attend the Diesel Technology and Freightliner Finish First programs at the UTI campus in Avondale, Ariz. Best of all, his tuition is paid-in-full, thanks to the generosity of Make-A-Wish Arizona, UTI and a handful of industry and employer partners. Jaime will begin his training this fall.
“We are so grateful that Universal Technical Institute connected with their industry and employee partners to make Jaime’s wish a reality,” said Elizabeth Reich, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Arizona. “We could never reach the number of children we reach without the support of companies like UTI and the others who came together to grant Jaime’s wish. Make-A-Wish relies on individual and corporate donors to help make wishes come true. Together, we create life-changing wishes for children like Jaime who have to deal with or live with critical illnesses.”
Jaime learned he had cancer in early 2018. Following extensive treatment, he was able to graduate from Valley Vista High School (Surprise, Ariz.) this spring. Make-A-Wish Arizona contacted UTI in recent weeks to inform the school of Jaime’s wish to attend the technical school.
“When we learned about Jaime’s story, we wanted to do whatever possible to help make his dream a reality,” said Kim McWaters, UTI President & CEO. “We know Jaime could have chosen just about anything for his wish – and the fact that he chose a UTI education is truly gratifying and humbling to all of us.”
Combined with the charitable gift from Make-A-Wish Arizona’s donors, UTI was able to bring together multiple industry partners and employers to ensure Jaime’s training as a diesel technician will be at no cost. In addition to Make-A-Wish Arizona and UTI, contributors to Jaime’s wish include: Daimler Trucks North America; Freightliner; Premier Truck Group; Snap-On Tools; Sunstate Equipment Co. and the TechForce Foundation.
“Our industry partners are as ecstatic as we are to step up and make this happen for Jaime,” added McWaters. “We’re so grateful to these employers -“ and of course, to the great people at Make-A-Wish Arizona -“ for their generosity. We all know Jaime will do great things at UTI and in his career, and we can’t wait to see what he does with his UTI education!”