Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Power of a Wish

If you could have one thing in this entire world, what would it be?  If you could have one moment in time free of worry and stress and grief from all of your day’s turmoil, what would you wish for?  When you find yourself enduring the very toughest times and each day you search for the slightest glimmer of hope, where do you escape to in your mind?  What would you trade for one week away from whatever it is that ails you?  I am sure that each and everyone one of you reading this has had moments in your lives when you simply wanted to run away, when the stresses seemed to be overflowing, and all of the negativity in life seemed to be winning.  Yet, few of us have ever had to go through the struggles that Carter has had to face in his short life.

As you may know, Carter was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome; a condition that would have proven fatal in the very early days of his life if not for a lifesaving open heart surgery within just a few weeks of being born.  He then had to undergo a second open heart surgery at approximately 6 months of age, the second in a three step process as a solution to the Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  Carter was slated for his third procedure around the time that he would have turned 2.  However, it was determined that his condition was such that the third procedure was not an option, and instead he was put on the heart donation list.  On February 7th 2012, he received the gift of a new heart.  Just 2 days later, he turned 2.  Since that time Carter has been in recovery and is doing quite well.  The first six months post-transplant are the most dangerous because of a weakened immune system.  Carter made it out of that danger zone and continues to live each and every day as a blessing.  And he is a true blessing to everyone that has the privilege of meeting him.  This two year old boy can melt any heart with a smile, and his eyelashes steal all the ladies’ hearts.

Not long ago, Carter’s family was contacted by the Make-A-Wish foundation of Washington,  Once Carter was stable enough, they wanted to grant him and his family a wish.  When they asked Carter what his wish was, that thing that could make it all better if only for a short time, his answer was that he wanted to meet SpongeBob!  Poof!  Wish granted.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation made it all happen.  They flew Carter, his mom, dad, sister Madison, and brother Clinton to Orlando Florida from Seattle Washington to meet SpongeBob.  But they didn’t stop there.  It started with a kickoff celebration in Seattle where the whole family was invited to participate and Madison and Clinton as well as Carter were treated like superstars.  It was at that point when the family realized the extent of the wish that was being granted.  They would spend a week in Orlando with passes to Sea World, Universal Studios, and Walt Disneyworld Resorts.  In addition to all of this they put the family up in a villa at Give the Kids the World,, where they could be around other families in similar situations and celebrate in the simple joys of seeing their children enjoy life and dance without having to worry about lab results and the next doctor’s appointment.  Every detail was taken into account, from transportation to and from the airport, escorts through the security at the airport, as well as the Seattle Firemen and Policemen coming out to wish Carter a good trip.

While in Orlando they all got to meet the Disney, Universal, and Nickelodeon characters.  Mickey, Shrek, the princesses, and so many more!  Carter’s favorites were the princesses (remember what I said about his lashes…lady killer!)  Of course there was SpongeBob!  Carter will tell you that was his favorite part, but his mom will tell you that he was frightened of all of the characters and would only go near them if Mom or Dad was holding him.  Everywhere they went that week they were treated with amazing care and support.  They even got to be in one of the parades down Main Street at Disneyworld!  They got time alone with all of the Disney princesses to play tag, and got brought up on stage to Dance at Disney Studios.

Melting Hearts
What amazes me about the entire story is not that everyone treated Carter like a superstar, but the extent that they went through to make sure that his parents had a stress free weekend, and that Madison and Clinton were treated like superstars too!  Carter’s condition is one that the entire family is experiencing and this wish was granted for each and everyone one of them.

Stars of the Parade with Donald
Carter’s mom said that the greatest blessing that Make-A-Wish provided was the gift of a stress free, worry free week where they could enjoy a vacation with the entire family and feel for just a short time like there was no looming stress or fear of transplant rejection, or lab results waiting for them when they returned, or the possibility of Carter coming down with the flu and ending up in the hospital for weeks at a time.  For a while, just a short while those fears were gone.  And they got to see their children’s faces light up when they met their heroes, SpongeBob, Stitch, Cinderella, and so many more.

I am so amazingly moved and thankful to the Make-A-Wish foundation, Give the Kids the World, Universal Studios, Nickelodeon, Disney World, and all of the volunteers and donors who make these kinds of miracles happen.  There are so few truly happy stories in the world that I needed to share this one for Teresa, Erick, Madison, Clinton and Carter.  You are all an inspiration to me and many more.

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

Prince Charming

The Family with SpongeBob