Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
A child with a life-threatening medical condition who has reached the age of 2½ and is younger than 18 at the time of referral is potentially eligible for a wish. A wish come true helps children feel stronger, more energetic, more willing and able to battle their life-threatening medical condition. A recent wish impact study showed 96 percent of parents said the wish strengthened their families.
Kennedy is a vivacious 4-year-old girl from Grand Forks with the heartfelt wish of meeting Dora the Explorer. Her wish came true at Walt Disney World Resort this June! We recently talked with Kennedy’s mom, Jennifer, about the experience and what it meant to her as a parent.
What is it like dealing with Kennedy’s life-threatening illness?
Kennedy has intractable epilepsy. At any time and without notice she can go into a seizure. It is terrifying and requires constant monitoring of what she is doing. Her body will slam into the ground without warning. We try and be within arm’s reach at all times to catch her. Nothing is spontaneous with our lives. We must always know where the closest hospital is and someone must always be with her.
What emotions ran through you when Kennedy was diagnosed?
Devastation, heartbreak and determination to find a cure. There are no words for the pain you feel when your child is hurting and there is nothing you can do to stop their fate.
What made you decide to call and officially make the referral?
I follow several blogs of special needs children. Though the illnesses are different, the emotions felt by other parents all are very similar. I frequently will rock Kennedy after her seizures and read blogs on my phone. Through dark days it helps to not feel so isolated.
One morning when I was scrolling through pages one of the moms had written about her daughter’s upcoming Make-A-Wish® trip. I googled Make-A-Wish and filled out the form. I honestly had no idea she would actually get to go on a trip. I received a call from Make-A-Wish the next day. From that point on Make-A-Wish handled every last detail.
What emotions ran though you when Kennedy was on her wish?
The trip was absolutely amazing! It was so much more than we could have ever imagined. She was ecstatic from the time she woke up until her head hit the pillow. I don’t even have the words to describe how amazing it feels to see your child who faces so many challenges on a daily basis so excited.
If there is one sentence you could say to other possible wish families out there, what would it be?
Call or go online and fill out a referral form to submit.