year 2, week 47: this week i'm gonna... grant a wish
Wish kid Bridget and her family are no strangers to hardship. David, Shannon, and their twin girls, Aidan and Bridget, were one of 1,700 families to lose their home in the 2011 Bastrop, TX wildfires. The family spent the next two years rebuilding their lives, but tragedy would strike again when Bridget was diagnosed with cancer.
Shannon remembers noticing things about Bridget that didn’t seem right - she looked pale, slept a lot, and began losing weight. She experienced several episodes of severe hip and leg pain and low grade fevers. On August 15, 2014, Bridget was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was 11 years old.
States Bridget: “When I was diagnosed, [my family] was terrified. I was terrified. I kept thinking, 'I’ve gotta be happy so they can be happy. I’ve gotta make them feel alright no matter how tough it is, no matter how sick I feel, I have to make them feel ok.'”
Bridget's family was connected with Make-A-Wish and she decided her wish was to visit the Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas. She knew it was something that her whole family would love, and it fulfilled her dream of playing with dolphins, seals, and other sea life. “I love animals, I love the sea, and I’m going to be a marine biologist someday,” Bridget says.
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Granting wishes to kids gives them more than an amazing experience; a wish come true has the power to make kids feel stronger, more courageous, and more determined to overcome their illnesses. Many families and healthcare providers believe the wish experience is the turning point in a wish kid's battle against their illness.
To learn more about the impact of a wish, please watch the below video:
According to the results of a 2011 Wish Impact Study, the wish experience improves the quality of life for recipients and their entire family. Health professionals say the wish experience is an important supplement to medical treatment, and they observe that their patients feel better and comply more readily with treatment protocols after they experience their wish come true.
“This was a trip of a life time for all of us and something we couldn’t do on our own,” says Shannon. “We all have some PTSD from this whole experience. The chance for the four of us to just go away and be with Bridget and watch her enjoy everything she wanted to do was amazing.” Adds Bridget, “These wishes make kids happy in their time of need. It definitely made me happy and has given me the courage to deal with the challenges I still face because of my cancer.”
Bridget finished her treatment in December 2016. She has developed avascular necrosis in her hip and both shoulders caused by her treatments, and she must undergo ongoing physical therapy to keep her joints flexible and keep the condition from worsening.
“But she’s alive and walking and happy. We can deal with it,” states Shannon. “Because of the fire and cancer, Bridget is a strong individual. She has learned it’s OK to have bad days, but she knows the importance of having a good day. And she knows you need to make your own good days and enjoy the little stuff."
Notes for this week:
- Global Children's Day is November 20th!
- Our collective givetwig donation will help sponsor travel expenses to help a child fulfill their wish.
- For more information on Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas, please check out their website.
this week i'm gonna donate to Make-A-Wish.