Eng 112 Making a Wish Come True
10 November 2013
Making a Wish Come True
Every year more than 27,000 children are diagnosed with a life threatening disease (United Health Group). Children with life threatening illnesses have many disadvantages compared to children that are completely healthy. Over the years cancer has increased in children under the age of fifteen, and many genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis remained incurable. After finding out a child has a life threatening illness it can be very devastating. There are many different ways having a child with a life threatening illness can affect a family, but the Make-A-Wish Foundation can help ease the stress and give life changing experiences.
Having a child with a life-threatening illness could be very difficult to deal with, and countless people do not know how to react to it. These families come across numerous “psychological difficulties” (Williams, Lauren K, et al. 80). Parents are always looking for ways to make their child find the positive outcomes of having a disease rather than the negative. The impact on families with a child that has an illness can differ greatly between families. Studies have shown that there are differences in intensification of the parenting role, closer relationships, and deeper bonds with the ill child, increased overprotection and indulgence, and decreased discipline of the ill child (Williams 80). Studies have shown that when a child is ill, the parents spoil that child and their siblings also. A number of parents “bribe” their kids to have medical procedures and sometimes to even get the siblings to go to the treatments with the family. A mother of a 7 year old boy says, “He [patient child] gets $20 every time we go to the hospital, [it’s a] pain fee…As soon as we leave its like, “cash up” (Williams 83). Parents often feel bad for having to bribe their kids but they know that it’s the only way to get them to do it because treatments cause the children to be in an extreme amount of pain. Also, there are positive effects of having a child with an illness, such as having an increase in family closeness and strengthened relationships with one another. When children have a life threatening illness, it causes them to be in a hospital most of the time, so having family support them there encourages them to be stronger. A survey was conducted from parents that have children that are battling with a serious disease, and the outcome was that the main thing parents struggle with is keeping their child on a normal routine. Parents tend to become overprotective when their child is sick, and they do not realize that they are keeping their child from doing normal things. Sometimes, the reason for this is because the doctors of the patients would tell the parents that their child would need to take it easy, and that there was no need to try and make their child do something like a normal child would. A 12 year old battling a solid tumor says, “I remember my mom saying that unless youre dead and dying, youre still going to school. She tried to keep it was normal as possible, like she kept me going to school, even if I didnt want to go and I kept going to karate and I remember my doctor having a heart attack when he heard that” (Williams 84). In a personal interview with Ben Ferguson, a man that has personally dealt with having cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic illness and has had his wish granted by the Make-A-Wish foundation, says that “There wasn’t anything that I wasn’t able to do. But I was constantly hospitalized for up to 2 weeks at a time every 3 to 4 months. That would cause me to miss class, weddings and even holidays. My friends and family would come and see me but it still gets lonely in the hospital” (Appendix A). Parents can see the pain and hurt that their children are going through. For the majority of the time, the parents do not how to make their child happy, or they cannot afford it financially. Luckily, there are organizations that are available to help out the parents to make sure their child has a great time and do what they want before it becomes too late.
Many parents do not how to deal with the issue of their child having cancer, or any other kind of illness. Parents surveyed have stated that they are always looking for ways to make their children happy. There are many organizations that offer helping out children with illnesses as well as the families impacted by them, one being the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization that grants wishes for children that are dealing with a life threatening illness. The Make-A-Wish Foundation website states, “Now, in 2013, more than 226,000 children in the United States have benefited from the hope, strength and joy of experiencing their one heartfelt wish. And while it’s not the beginning, it’s nowhere near the end.” The Make-A-Wish foundation was founded in 1983, but inspiration for it came in spring of 1980 when Chris Greicius was a seven year old boy, that was diagnosed with leukemia. All Chris wanted to do was to become a police officer, his mother was willing to do anything she could to make her sons wish come true. Tommy Austin was one of the numerous people that helped Chris get his wish. Not only did the wish impact Chris’s live it also impacted the people that helped. Tommy Austin says, “He was only seven years, 269 days old when he died. But he taught me about being a man. Even though he was only a boy. I can tell you that because of meeting Chris, I am an entirely different man. Ron Cox said the same thing. He said he didn’t fear death anymore, because he knew Chris would be there waiting for him” (Make-A-Wish). Soon after, the DPS officers that made Chris Greicius wish a reality decided to dedicate their time and energy to give other terminal children the same thing. Frank “Bopsy” Salazar was a seven year old boy battling leukemia. Bopsy had three wishes he wanted granted, to be a fireman, to go to Disneyland, and to ride in a hot air balloon. Bopsy is also known as the first official Make-A-Wish kid. By the spring of 1982, many people were very interested in the small non-profit organization and wanted to get involved, either monetarily or physically. The foundation received so much recognition that NBC did a printed piece on it, and it was read all over the nation. Soon after, the small group grew enormously and was officially incorporated as the Make-A-Wish foundation. As it states on the Make-A-Wish website, “Make-A-Wish® grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories, on average, every 38 minutes. We believe that a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us. It inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.” Although a wish gets granted every 38 minutes, another child is getting diagnosed with a potentially qualifying condition.
Although the foundation is famous for spreading optimism, being offered a wish might even be experienced as a ‘death sentence’ to some patients, as the wish is only offered to children who have a life-threatening illness. The Make-A-Wish foundation allows children from the age of 2 ½ to 18 years old that are battling a life threatening illness to have their wish granted. Each and every child has a unique and powerful wish that they would like granted. There is no limit to what a child can wish for, it’s up to their imagination. 226,000 children have had their dreams come true thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation. For instance, Gabby, 14 years old with Shone Syndrome wished to be a Harvard Medical Student. Although, she was only 14 years old she knew she wanted to be a doctor ever since she was 8 years old. She proved that her wish was real and she was going to conquer it one day! Not every child wants to become something, some of them even want to go somewhere. Destinee is a 12 year old girl battling with a blood disorder. All Destinee wanted to do is to be able to go on a Caribbean cruise. The Make-A-Wish foundation made it possible for her and her family for a week to the Caribbean. She got to rock climb, swim with dolphins, and just swimming. Being away on this vacation allowed Destinee not to focus on her having a blood disorder, and more focused on being a normal child. As it states on the Make-A-Wish website, “The wish-come-true becomes a turning point that unites the family, strengthens them and leaves them renewed. And it offers Destinee a chance to see beyond the challenge of her illness and to imagine the promise of her future.” Another wish that was granted was made by 9 year old Dalton that has a neurological condition. Due to his neurological condition Dalton lost his voice and was not able to communicate with his family by voice, so all Dalton wanted was to have a voice. The foundation made it possible for Dalton to speak to his parents by a speech device. Dalton is now loving his device and is going to speech therapy to be able to use the device even better. The only way that is possible for the Make-A-Wish foundation to fund all of these wishes is by donations that are being made by people all over the world. You can donate money, gifts, airline miles, etc. You can also hold fundraisers to raise money and they also have sponsors.
Serious illness in a child, such as cancer, is a significant stressor for patients and their families. The Pablov Foundation states,