The Seslija family outside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. From left, Leo (brother), Janko (father), Mateo (dreamer) and Sanela (mother).

Nonprofit News: Bowling dream fullfilled for Mandarin 18-year-old

Miller Electric Co. helps send family to Washington, D.C., to visit Truman’s bowling alley.
By: 
Jul. 6, 2017

For 18-year-old Mandarin resident Mateo Seslija, the love for American history was his distraction from his medical battle with a germ cell tumor.

“All the days I was going through therapy, I would search for fun facts, because it prevented me from feeling sick,” Seslija said in a news release.

“One fact that excited me more than others was President Truman developed a two-lane bowling alley in the West Wing,” he said.

When Mateo was introduced to Dreams Come True, Northeast Florida’s wish-granting organization for children battling life-threatening illnesses, it was easy for him to decide on the perfect dream: Bowling at the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley.

On June 20, with the support of Miller Electric Co., Dreams Come True sent Seslija and his family to Washington, D.C., for five days. Mateo was able to experience the piece of history he found most intriguing.

In addition to visiting the White House and the famous bowling alley, Seslija was welcomed by U.S. Rep. John Rutherford and his staff. 

Arranged through the National Electrical Contractors Association, the family also took a tour of the Capitol.

“Mateo’s courage and curiosity is inspiring. As a history buff myself, I was honored to host him and his family at my office and show them around our nation’s Capitol,” Rutherford said in a news release.

Seslija, who was diagnosed cancer-free in November, is one of more than 3,600 children whose dreams have been fulfilled by Dreams Come True since 1984.

 In 2016, the organization fulfilled the dreams of 181 children and is expected to surpass its 2016 dream fulfillment number, with 90 dreams already completed in the first six months of 2017.