Featured Grant Story: Make-A-Wish North Texas
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Their purpose is to grant the wish of each child between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 who has a life-threatening medical condition, i.e., a progressive, degenerative, or malignant medical condition that has placed the child's life in jeopardy. The Texas Plains Chapter, chartered in 1984, serves the top 55 counties of Texas.
Every 20 minutes a child is newly diagnosed with a critical illness. Research shows, and physicians agree, a wish can help improve a child's quality of life and produce better health outcomes. Life-changing wishes replace fear with strength, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope - helping children battling critical illnesses see the impossible as possible. A combination of more qualifying diagnoses, an increased outreach effort, and a rise in referrals has created an influx of wishes. Many medical professionals are including Make-A-Wish as a part of their treatment plan. Children aren't made to wait for medical treatments; why should they wait for a wish that has an impact on their medical health? The Make-A-Wish Foundation is aware of the positive results wishes have for children.
Wishes aren't just a nice thing. They are a necessity and they can't wait.
When Montana, diagnosed with leukemia, was eight years old, he wished to have his bedroom redecorated by Make-A-Wish. Now in his 20s, Montana has found ways to share the same hope he received when his own wish was granted. He has gone on mission trips and has been involved in local summer programs for kids with cancer. He is now at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso studying to join the medical profession as either a surgeon or oncologist.
At six years old, Suly wished to go to Walt Disney World Resort. She was referred to Make-A-Wish because of her diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and was granted her one true wish. Now in her 20s, Suly is cancer free. Her loves for Disney has carried on through the years, leading her to an internship with Disney while in college. She loves volunteering and working with wish children, trying to instill in them the hope that she was given through her wish, so that that they too can be resilient in fighting their own medical battles.
Wishes have the power to transform and make the impossible seem possible.
Two years ago, Christopher, then fifteen years old, was referred to Make-A-Wish by his nephrology team at Children's Health. Battling cancer, cancer treatments, a bone marrow transplant, and then end stage renal disease, the care team at Children's Health made the decision to add a wish to Christopher's treatment plan. Christopher met with his wish granters and decided he wanted a wish that would not only transform his life, but the lives of other children and teens at Children's Health. Christopher's wish was to write and publish a children's book. Christopher received his wish with the help of many wonderful people. He is now a published author, with his book for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. As soon as he is feeling better he'll be having a book signing event at Children's Health. He has also begun working on ideas for his next book.
Emily, a fourteen year old with kidney disease, had a wish to go to Sephora's headquarters in Paris. Emily's mom described their difficult experience leading up to the wish. Although Emily's doctors healed her physically, many times it is the heart and mind that need the most healing and hope. Emily was in the hospital for a week and feared losing her kidney. The entire time Emily was in the hospital she told the doctors and nurses, "I have to get better, I'm going to Paris!" She and her mother would then tell the medical team about her wish. One of the medical students brought a list of places to visit in Paris for Emily the next day. The medical team expressed their excitement for Emily and told her they couldn't wait to see pictures from her trip. One of Emily's nephrology doctors asked when her trip was so that no medical appointments were scheduled during her visit in Paris, saying "she was going on that trip!" Emily's trip to Paris gave her something positive to look forward to, and provided a bright light in an otherwise dark and scary moment for Emily and her mother. Emily has been admitted to the hospital various times this year, and she knows there will be struggles ahead, but her wish to go to Paris gives her something to focus on that's happy and exciting.
To learn more about Make-A-Wish North Texas, please visit them at http://ntx.wish.org/ or on Facebook.