My husband and I were so excited to welcome our first child into the world in July 2007. Our family of two had become three. But the joy of holding our baby girl was shattered by news we received shortly after her birth—our newborn would need open heart surgery for a congenital heart condition.
Terrified, our focus shifted from the typical first-parent worries to constantly watching for signs of congestive heart failure: Is she turning blue? Is she eating enough? Is she growing? Many times I would break down crying, paralyzed by a fear of the unknown.
Sophie had heart surgery when she was three months old, and after her recovery our family hoped we had put her condition behind us. Each year her annual echocardiogram exams looked good. Until she turned 9. That was when her cardiology team noticed an abnormality developing and told us that a second open heart surgery was necessary. This news threw us into a tailspin once again.
Sophie made it through her second open heart surgery the summer of 2018, but this time it was different. At this age, Sophie could express how much pain she was in. It was gut-wrenching as a mom to know that I could not take Sophie’s pain away. On top of feeling isolated at home during recovery, she had to cope with not being able to enjoy a lot of traditional summer activities like swimming and going to the lake. That summer was long and hard.
And then Make-A-Wish® Michigan entered our lives. The timing was perfect. Knowing that she would be granted a wish gave Sophie something exciting and fun to look forward to. Instead of focusing solely on how difficult that summer was, Sophie could now look at what she could do in the future. In the midst of pain and uncertainty following a big surgery, it can be hard to stay positive. Make-A-Wish gives kids like my daughter Sophie hope that good things can happen too.
At the wish interview, Sophie’s little creative brain was full of ideas. She liked the idea of a wish destination that allowed her to explore her recent interest in Chinese culture. Sophie decided on a trip to San Francisco where she could visit Chinatown, see the ocean, fly in a plane for the first time and experience a big city.
Sophie’s wish trip this past August was amazing. It was a full week where our family could completely disconnect from the rest of the world and be together. There was something about going on a plane and experiencing a new city together for the first time that really brought us closer. During our wish experience, you could see the joy on Sophie’s face and how much she was soaking in this experience with her sister. I remember being so thankful and grateful for the opportunity. It felt like a dream sometimes. We were able to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Every Michigan child with a critical illness should have the opportunity to experience the hope and joy of a wish come true.
I would like to personally ask you to make a tax-deductible donation today, so that more Michigan children like my daughter can experience the life-changing power of a wish.