have a baby, then we wished for a healthy baby, then we wished that our
preemie (not healthy) would live (we wished that one a lot), then we wished
that she would grow and be able to live a normal healthy life. Then we
wished she didn't have cancer and once again wished that she would live (we
wished that one a lot...again...still). We wish that this miracle girl could
just have some peace to be a "normal" kid.
The thing about wishes is, some come true, and some do not. She will never
be a normal kid. She will always and forever be the former
micro-preemie/cancer survivor who pulled through. Having watched her go
through chemo and her surgery and the hours and hours of waiting in the
hospital, we wished for something else. We wished we could give her
something to smile about. We were told that she qualified for the
Make-A-Wish program. I admit I RECOILED when this was first suggested. To
me, Make-A-Wish was to provide the last dying wish for a terminally ill
child. MY child was not terminal, MY child was going to make it, MY child
didn't need a wish. However, I learned that Make-A-Wish grants wishes to
children who have been diagnosed with "life threatening" diseases, not just
terminal ones. She just made the minimum age of 2-1/2 years and the cancer
was definitely life threatening. I still stalled and hemmed and hawed about
doing it. I thought we should let other kids go for their wishes because
they might need it more, or their families might not be able to afford to do
something special for their sick child(ren). I thought maybe Amanda would
qualify only by technicality and that by accepting a wish for her, we would
be taking the place of a child more in need who really did qualify. I was
wrong. She qualified honorably on all fronts. She was of age and her
diagnosis firm. We were not bending the rules or taking anyone else's place.
A wish was available for her and we only had so long to accept her wish or
she would lose the opportunity. I hesitated again, thinking about the money.
Make-A-Wish is completely run by donated money and resources. If we took a
wish, that was money taken away from someone else's wish. The social worker
at the hospital put these worries to rest for me by saying, "If you're that
worried about it, take the wish and make a donation yourself!" Wow! Ok
then, let's do it!
Many wish kids want to go to Disney, and this is the first question asked by
most people when they hear we are participating in the Make-A-Wish program.
This is such a common request that Disney World has a separate area
especially for Wish children and their families. Amanda however would not be
able to distinguish Mickey Mouse from Scooby-Doo so Disney was not a
reasonable wish, especially at this young age. What would give her the MOST
joy? The biggest smile we could hope for? What had gotten us through those
days and nights in the hospital? ELMO! We wished for Amanda to go to the
Sesame Street studios in New York to see the actual Sesame Street and meet
Elmo and as many other characters from the show as possible. The referral
was made, the ball has been set in motion, they are working on granting this
wish. (Whee! A trip to New York!!!! Mommy is going to be more giddy than
Amanda on this one.) They told us to expect travel to happen sometime next
spring. STILL totally excited!
THEN, last week I received a call from Make-A-Wish of Michigan regarding
their Wish-A-Mile bike tour. This is their biggest fundraiser of the year. A
300-mile bicycle ride from Traverse City down to Chelsea...in three days!
(Ouch, my backside hurts just thinking about it.) The day they come through
the Lansing area they will be having a big awards ceremony/banquet to honor
their sponsors, donors and participants. They want to grant a child's wish
that night, in front of everyone, to show what all of their hard work is
for. They chose Amanda's wish out of the stacks of wishes in the system
right now. They want us to go to the ceremony and present Amanda's wish, to
meet Elmo, as a SURPRISE for her that night. Oh. My. Gosh.!!!!! Super Panda
will be in the spotlight of Make-A-Wish of Michigan! They cannot guarantee
to get Elmo there that night, but they will try very hard. They will "pull
out all the stops" to make it happen. Our girl, our super-hero, will inspire
people to give to this most noble cause and show others what a positive
attitude can do when faced with the most horrible circumstances imaginable.
Super Panda the Super Star keeps getting bigger and brighter leaving me to
wonder, what in the world could happen next?