By Allison Schweizer, Wish Mom
When we’re young, we aren’t expected to understand diseases or illnesses. Our children only understand smiling, laughing, playing outside, enjoying sports, watching favorite Disney® movies, being kids. Unfortunately, many of our children don’t get to spend their time doing “normal” kid things. Instead, they spend their days in and out of doctor appointments and going through treatments. With the help of Make-A-Wish®, kids like Lucas are able to take back their childhood with the granting of their one-true-wish.
Lucas, now eight, was born with many brain anomalies. As a result he’s nonverbal and can’t walk independently. His seizures started at the age of three and over the years they’ve become longer and, at times, more dangerous. He sees a number of specialists and has lots of weekly therapies. Yet, in spite of this, he’s one of the bravest, most joyful children I’ve ever seen and his smile changes the world.
I guess you could say I’ve learned not to limit myself from my boy. He’s taught me if I limit myself, I limit him because he needs my help to do the things which bring him the greatest moments of joy. He has always loved water, wind, and boogie boarding – he’s an adrenaline junkie! For the past four summers he’s participated in adaptive water skiing and wake boarding. It was on our “bucket list” as his parents to someday take Lucas to Hawaii and let him experience surfing with an amazing group of volunteers at Access Surf.
Last summer, Lucas’ wish “to go adaptive surfing in Hawaii” was granted. My son and our family were treated to what I can honestly say was a once in a lifetime trip to Waikiki. No detail was left to chance and our days and nights were filled with one amazing experience after the next!
Wishes help strengthen families. Make-A-Wish helped strengthen ours.
Since Lucas’ wish trip, there have been positive changes in all of us. As a result of watching her twin brother be resuscitated by first responders for the bulk of her childhood, Lucas’ sister, Chloe, has struggled with significant anxiety. Before his wish, she kept him at arm’s length and, at times, was unable to even pat him on the head. During this trip, she took his hand and explained things to him like what ‘Aloha’ meant and what his lei was made of (nuts and shells) versus hers (flowers). Now, Chloe blows bubbles for him, talks to him and soothes him when he’s upset.
Lucas’ wish gave us the rejuvenation we needed to face another school year filled with doctors’ appointments and challenging therapies. It gave us the break we so desperately needed, memories we’ll never lose, smiles, a week full of family and unforgettable moments of joy.
Our story is an example of just one of the 270 local wishes that Make-A-Wish® Central and Western North Carolina will be granting this year. Their mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy at a time when they need it most. For many of these kids, it marks a turning point in the fight against their illnesses. Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina serves 51 counties in North Carolina from Burlington (Alamance County) to the west, and any contributions made to the chapter stay local to help fund wish granting in our area. These wishes provide families like ours treasured memories and life-changing experiences.
If you know a child like Lucas who is battling a life-threatening illness, we encourage you to Share the Power of a Wish® by referring them to Make-A-Wish today. To learn more about the referral process, or to find out about other ways you can get involved with the chapter, visit: nc.wish.org.
Sponsored by Make-A-Wish® Central & Western North Carolina
Simply beautiful. The change in how his sister treated him just melted my heart!