That family with the son who has cancer! The 2nd grader with epilepsy! The cystic fibrosis kid! Have you ever noticed how quickly a diagnosis comes to define a child and family? A family that was otherwise flying under the radar in your school, neighborhood, or community now becomes defined by their child’s diagnosis. And when a child becomes defined by a diagnosis, disease, illness, etc. their own identity, what makes them special and unique gets lost and when they lose that hope falls shortly behind. I’m not going to lie, going into the BIG WISH Gala I was one of “those” people, those people who would define a family by their tragedy, but by the end of the evening my heart and mindset changed entirely.
My metamorphosis began the moment we sat down. Seated at our table was Annabella, one of the Wish-Kids being recognized that evening, she was dressed like a little princess seated snug between her mom and dad. I couldn’t help but notice her star balloon attached to her chair and inquired about her wish.
Turns out her wish was granted and what an awesome wish it was, she and her family (even her 7 year old brother & 2 year old brother…who she got a break from at the Gala & got to have mom and dad all to herself for the evening) went on a Disney Cruise!! How cool is that?! I have never been and I had many questions for Annabella and her parents, which they all so graciously answered. I was also excited to learn that Annabella and her family are local, from NW Ohio…like just down the pike a few miles! (Make-a-Wish donations DO stay local) In the background I could hear Christina Williams, the Emcee getting the evening started.
The evening began with all the Wish Kids coming up to the stage, sharing their name, age, and wish…and just like that it all changed for me. Suddenly I didn’t see children who received diagnosis, of leukemia, brain cancer, etc. I saw children who received wishes and with those wishes, hope! How cool is that?
Make-a-Wish helps us all change our narrative! No longer is a child defined as, “that child with cystic fibrosis”, but rather, “that young author who had his book published” or “that 6th grader with brain cancer”, but, “that 6th grader who swam with sharks”….yup, true stories, those are wishes that were granted thanks to Make-a-Wish and thanks to ordinary people like you and me!
I arrived home that evening feeling rejuvenated & hopeful, apparently it’s contagious…and couldn’t wait to tell my husband all about Annabella, her family, and her wish. When I was done he asked, what was Annabella diagnosis? You know, it had never dawned on me to inquire…her narrative from me will always be an amazing little girl given the diagnosis of hope, via a Disney Cruise thanks to Make-a-Wish!
Please help change local children’s narratives today! No donation is too small; every dollar is greatly appreciated! Share & tag friends!
Click on link to learn more, donate, volunteer, and/or nominate a wish kids, https://oki.wish.org/