When Ramona was just a newborn and her family drove her home from the hospital, a simple sight caused her mom to break down in tears.
“We drove past two little girls riding bicycles. I just started sobbing,” said Ramona’s mom, Kristen. “I just thought that we’d never get to experience that with Ramona.”
Ramona was born with a genetic disorder called 1p36 deletion syndrome and a life-threatening cardiac condition. Doctors told Ramona’s family that she would be vegetative, that she’d never be able to play or think for herself.
“It’s like they handed me a different baby,” said Kristen. “Doctors have labeled her with all of these things that need to happen and things that could go wrong. They told us we didn’t have much hope. But try telling that to Ramona—she had something different in mind!”
Ramona is now defying doctors’ predictions as a spunky five-year-old. Her medical conditions cause physical and cognitive delays. She has more medical equipment and medications than her family cares to count. She can’t do many of the activities her family enjoys, like playing outside.
And through it all, Ramona is a light in her family’s life.
“She’s a joy-giver,” said Kristen. “She’s shown us how to find joy and happiness out of just being. Even when things are horrible, there’s still joy in the little things.”
Ramona got to experience true joy for herself when you granted her wish.
From the very first meeting, wish-granting volunteers Alex and Lindsey were immediately enamored with this close-knit family and knew Ramona’s wish would change their lives.
“Ramona is part of an incredibly patient, loving family,” said Lindsey. “They want her involved in everything they’re doing. With her medical condition, it can be really difficult to go out and do things together.”
So Ramona wished for a buddy trike.
It’s a tricycle that her parents can pedal and it has a five-point harness so Ramona can ride safely. The trike is even electric so Ramona and her family can continue to use it as she grows.
Ramona’s family used to ride bikes all the time before Ramona was born. “It was one of our favorite activities as a family,” said Kristen. “She can now be a part of a family activity that we haven’t been able to do for a long time, and that’s huge.”
“There’s so much in her day-to-day life that she can’t do like other kids,” said Alex. “Having the trike adds a little more normalcy to her life and gives her an experience she can have with her family.”
“When I first heard about Ramona’s wish, I immediately started reminiscing about what it meant to me when I first got a tricycle,” said Christine Edwards, manager of Bungie Foundation, which donates electrical components for wishes. “To be able to give Ramona the mobility and freedom to adventure and explore her world ... it’s something that’s so important and makes our team really proud to be able to do something so meaningful for these kids who deserve so much.”
Kevin Pape from Montlake Bicycle Shop donated his time to help assemble the buddy trike. “I hope by having this wish granted, Ramona and her family will create some great memories that will last forever,” he said.
The buddy trike also allows Ramona’s family to spend time together outside and being active. Like many families with a child facing a critical illness, Ramona’s family put their own health and aspirations on hold to become Ramona’s full-time caregivers.
The moment Ramona saw the trike, she lit up with joy.
“There was no hiding how happy she was,” said Lindsey. “She got on it and went for a ride, and she just kept signing ‘more!’”
“She’s going to get to be part of a family activity that we haven’t been able to do for a long time,” said Kristen.
“Wishes give kids and families so much hope for days to come,” said Christine. “Knowing there are people listening to you, that you have an entire community of people that want to put a smile on your face ... it’s a reminder that there are so many people out there rooting for you and give you something bright to look back on during dark or challenging days.”
“This wish gives Ramona something to look forward to; she looks forward to getting to ride her bike,” said Kristen. “It allows a little bit of normalcy to come back to our family, and it shows her brother that people care about his sister. Having these wishes granted is a big encourager!”
When you help grant a wish, you replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope. Each day, at least one child in Alaska and Washington is diagnosed with a critical illness, and they aren’t all receiving wishes. Can you help?
This wish has been adopted in memory of John Demco. Special thanks Bungie Foundation, Kevin Pape and wish-granting volunteers Alex Zigman and Lindsey Warnick.