by Janet Bantz Glavin
Inspiration is a powerful force in our human experience. The joy that children exhibit in play and imagination is powerful – whether it’s believing in the magic of the holidays or looking forward to playing with a favorite toy or game. The diagnosis of a life-threatening medical condition instantly changes a child’s experience –and the everyday fun activities of being a child are replaced with frequent trips to the doctor and treatment protocols.
Jeremiah Larson, age 5 of Morton is a fun and engaging young boy who loves cars, trucks, pizza, and cookies (just to name a few things). This adventurous little boy loves the outdoors, reading, and watching TV—his favorite show being Thomas the Tank Engine. Jeremiah was diagnosed in November of 2012 with Leukemia and he also lives with Down Syndrome.
Jeremiah’s wish was granted recently when he received a special indoor play set for his home. Jeremiah loves to play outside, but during cold months, he cannot. When he is undergoing treatment, he cannot play outside either. This indoor play set will allow him to hang out with his brothers and play like any other kid in the safety of his home.
His Make-A-Wish Illinois volunteer wish granters Stacy and Cory Byrd pulled together several additional community volunteers including Dennis Higdon, Tim Duffy and Ron Riggins to help assemble the playset and to make the finished wish extra special for Jeremiah.
“I had a choice that Saturday, attend two of my grandchildren's hockey games or work on granting a wish for Jeremiah. It was an easy call for me. Rotary has taught me that when a great opportunity like this project presents itself....run towards it without hesitation. I was honored to be a small part,” said Ron Riggins, event day volunteer.
A wish experience can help a child feel stronger and more positive while dealing with a life-threatening medical condition. The opportunity to have a wish come true offers hope, strength and joy. And there is a measurable impact according to a 2011 national survey of the Make-A-Wish community including health care professionals, wish families and volunteers. Ninety-seven percent of wish families observed and increase in their wish kids’ emotional health and 89% of health care professionals surveyed say they believe that the wish experience can influence wish kids’ physical health.
Jeremiah’s mother Amy Larson remarks, “Jeremiah loves his wish! His wish has been such a blessing for our entire family. I am amazed by the generosity of Make-A-Wish volunteers.”
A wish is more than just a nice gift or experience. The impact of a wish is lasting and vital in the life of any child with a life-threatening medical condition.
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Make-A-Wish® is committed to the vision of granting the wish of every eligible child. We rely on wish referrals from caring individuals to help us reach more kids with life-threatening medical conditions every year and grant them a wish that changes lives, forever. The eligibility consideration process is initiated when a wish referral inquiry is submitted to the local chapter. Potential wish kids, medical professionals, parents, legal guardians and family members with detailed knowledge of the child's current medical condition can initiate the referral process. Learn more about who is eligible for a wish, who can refer a child and how the referral process works by visiting www.illinois.wish.org/refer-a-child