The breeze brushed through Riley’s hair, his face frozen in a grin, as the bright red golf cart cruised across his front lawn. It wasn’t often that Riley, who is bound to a wheelchair, could experience such freedom.
“The first time he rode in the golf cart, he squealed with delight,” said his mom, DeAnn. “It was priceless… knowing how much he loves movement.”
Riley was born 16 weeks early and, after a month of life, developed an infection that caused his lifelong neurological condition. He’s had 26 surgeries since then. DeAnn had quit her job to care for Riley, and the family’s life quickly changed.
“He faces challenges every day with a smile on his face,” said DeAnn. “It was hard to accept the challenges he would face. It was also difficult for his siblings … it changed all of our lives. The simplest things, like shopping or taking a vacation, weren’t easy to do anymore.”
Since Riley was hospitalized on his birthday because of surgery, Make-A-Wish Michigan volunteers and coordinators planned a belated birthday party to reveal his wish – a wheelchair accessible golf cart.
“We zip around the property and he laughs with delight,” said DeAnn. “His dad mowed paths for us to use – we even have a crop circle. Riley loves the freedom to get outside… We get to have a lot of fun together on a regular basis. Lots of laughter!”