Jacob dug into the sand, building a sandcastle as the waves cascaded around him. The 7-year-old added a couple rocks to his design before showing his masterpiece off to his family. There was pure joy on his face as he relished in the time with family as his wish to stay at a beach house came true.
“I just liked watching him being happy,” Jacob’s mom, Amanda, said. “He could go out and have fun. He didn’t have to worry about taking medication or being careful.”
For Jacob, his wish to stay at a beach house made his medical journey seem like a distant memory. Within five days of Jacob’s parents bringing him home from the hospital, Jacob was airlifted to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital for a congenital heart condition. Jacob underwent his first open-heart surgery at 15 days old.
Since his first surgery, Jacob has been on a variety of medications, undergone two more open-heart surgeries, endured hospitalizations and deals with fatigue. Jacob’s wish gave him the opportunity to forget about doctor appointments and medication.
“Make-A-Wish literally [gives] a completely different perspective and that there is hope out there,” Amanda said. “You don’t have to be stuck with a diagnosis. Make-A-Wish gives people that joy to just be a regular family without the hustle and bustle and all the ups and downs.”
When Jacob wasn’t at the beach or racing around the yard outside their beach house, his family went sightseeing. During his wish, Jacob visited a few iconic northern Michigan destinations for the first time: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Mackinac Island and crossing the Mackinac Bridge.
“He loved it,” Amanda said. “The [ferry] boat ride he absolutely loved. I think his wish highlight was going to Mackinac Island, going around the whole island [on a bike] and checking it out. Whether you’re from Michigan or not, everyone should go to Mackinac Island at least once in their life!”
For kids like Jacob with critical illnesses, a wish sparks hope and brings joy at a time when they need it most.
“I would like to thank the Make-A-Wish supporters from the bottom of my heart for allowing this wonderful wish to be granted,” Amanda said. “It was a truly amazing experience for Jacob and our family. Thank you so, so much!”
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