Shortly after he was born, Landen had a heart transplant that left him with lifetime of doctors’ appointments and heart biopsies. He sees five different doctors for his many conditions and, up until this last year when his body began to reject the transplant, all seemed manageable. But Landen doesn’t let that slow him down.
If he’s not playing baseball or building Lego masterpieces, you can find Landen creating something delicious in the kitchen. His dream to make the best pizza in the world is what took Landen and his family to Italy for his wish.
“It was amazing when he qualified but also hard to realize that we are still battling his illness,” said Tammy. Landen’s wish gave his family of seven a long overdue escape from their world of doctors’ appointments and worry.
In fact, research shows, and physicians agree, that having a wish granted can help improve a child’s quality of life and produce better health outcomes. These life-changing wishes help children battling critical illnesses see the impossible as possible. In the year before his wish, Landen faced three surgeries. Having his wish on the horizon gave him something to look forward to; to count down the days to something positive and fun.
The experience made Landen feel special in a way he never had before. “He already knows he’s kind of different because of his battle wounds and scars,” said Tammy. “His trip let him be different in an awesome way. He got to pick whatever he wanted and roll with it.”
At the same time, Landen’s wish was a gift for the whole family. Landen’s four siblings and his parents lived his surgeries right alongside him, carrying much of the worry and uncertainty that came with each trip to the hospital.
Tammy remembers that Landen got a Roman soldier costume and wore it to all of the monuments in Rome. Tourists even stopped to take pictures with him, “he was so proud. It was almost like it was his city.”
Now that Landen has hit rejection, his wish is even more special to his family. “We have to hold him down for all of his surgeries and lab draws until he goes to sleep. It was so nice to just hold his hand in a loving way. It feels like it was a dream.”
Can you help other kids like Landen experience their wishes?
Right now, 80 percent of wishes involve travel. Can you help? Donate your frequent flier miles during our Wishes in Flight® mileage drive with KOMO News on August 2. You can make big difference in the lives of local wish kids and their families—and it doesn’t cost you a dime!