SEATTLE — Konnor Sato spent most of 6th grade in a hospital bed. The 13-year-old has a rare condition that qualified him for a liver transplant.
For the Sato family, that meant leaving their home state of Hawaii for the Pacific Northwest. Konnor's cousin in Tacoma was a perfect match.
“You’ve known that person for all of your life. Now you have a little part of them in you, so you know you can’t forget them,” Konnor said.
Despite spending months in the hospital, Konnor always stayed focused on helping others. He has always wanted to be a paramedic — and this experience only reinforced his dream.
“You can put yourself in the situation, like you know you can feel how the person is feeling, if the person is scared or nervous,” he said.
On Thursday morning at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, Konnor got a first-hand look at being a first responder, thanks to Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.
Konnor is a young man who loves first responders, and they love him back.
“Konnor has a passion and knows what he wants to do and he’s experienced a lot of it already,” said Capitan Peter Ubaldi of the Seattle Fire Department.
The teen has already spent more time than most will ever spend in a hospital room, but it hasn’t kept him from wanting to work in the medical field.
"Just try and have a positive attitude, try and stay positive through it – you’ll get through it eventually. It might take a year, two years, a couple of months. But you’ll get through it as long as you have something that you can strive for,” Konnor said.
Soon, Konnor will be back at in school in Hawaii – where a kid his age is supposed to be. But someday, don’t be surprised if you see Konnor in uniform, responding to calls on the streets of Seattle.