Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Day for Wishes

There are things about raising a child with medical conditions that have made life different for our family. There have been scary moments in the hospital with my daughter, Jaycee, as I watched machines give her breath during a respiratory illness. There have been tearful departures as Jaycee left my arms to go off to an operating room with doctors. There have been an innumerable amount of prescriptions filled and specialty appointments scheduled. There have been times when I have hugged my scared child as I tried to convince her to enter a hospital for an ordinary appointment because she is frightened that she will be admitted.

The absolute worst part has been wondering if my child with Down syndrome, repaired AV canal heart defect, ablated Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome, asthma, lung cyst, obstructive sleep apnea, and GERD will live to be an adult. There have been a few close calls, but we are grateful that Jaycee is still here.

For some of the hard and scary days that Jaycee has had, we have also had a few amazing, one-of-a-kind experiences throughout her 11 years of life. One of those happy moments was made possible through the Make-A-Wish foundation. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.

In 2015, Jaycee was granted a wish through Make-A-Wish Illinois. (If you want to read how this process started and our trip, click here!) Through the generosity of many foundations and companies, Jaycee was able to meet that amazing purple dinosaur, Barney, at Universal Studios. She was ecstatic to see meet her favorite character as well as visit many Orlando theme parks with her family and stay at the Give Kids the World Village.

Jaycee's granted wish remains the most wonderful week in all of our lives. It offered unique experiences and helped us forget about the difficult moments from the past. We didn't know how much joy it would bring Jaycee and the rest of us nor did we realize the lasting impression it would leave on us. Two years later, we still look at pictures from that trip, and Jaycee communicates about her favorite experiences.

World Wish Day is celebrated on April 29th to mark the anniversary of the wish that began the Make-A-Wish foundation. Since the first wish in 1980, more than 350,000 children around the world have had their greatest wishes fulfilled by Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish is the world’s largest wish-granting organization, serving courageous children in nearly 50 countries on 5 continents around the globe.

When I think about all the people who have come together over the years to donate time, money, resources, and gifts to fulfill the wishes of children like my daughter, I am overwhelmed with the kindness and goodwill of others. There really is good in the world; you can find it with Make-A-Wish.

Visit wish.org to refer a child, make a donation, or learn more about the foundation.

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