“Cancer families need a support system to keep going,” says Kari, mom of wish kid Max. “Make-A-Wish is part of that support system. Make-A-Wish heals and strengthens families. Marriages crumble. Families fall apart. Make-A-Wish brings cancer families back together and gives them a chance to feel joy.”
Kari’s son, Max, and his twin sister, Molly, had been doing well from birth to 18 months old. But, while Molly continued reaching her developmental milestones, Max lost his ability to walk and talk. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Max was admitted to the hospital and endured many tests until a neurologist diagnosed him with an extremely rare form of neuroblastoma cancer and a life-threatening autoimmune disease.
At age 2 1/2, Max was in treatment when his family learned that he’d get his heartfelt wish—to take a family trip to their favorite Florida theme park. Kari says, “The wish was something he could look forward to while he was in the middle of his chemotherapy protocols.” Sadly, Kari’s mother was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer at the same time, and she and Max simultaneously underwent the same chemotherapy. Kari’s parents joined them on the wish trip. Shortly following the trip, Kari’s mother lost her fight with cancer. Kari says, “One of my favorite memories is of Max sitting in my mom’s lap while she was in her wheelchair riding through the park with giant smiles. The trip gave us memories that we will cherish forever.”
Make-A-Wish provides something that medicine cannot and Kari knows this. “At the hospital, Max is focused on getting through the next doctor’s appointment, the next procedure,” adds Kari. “During his wish he was carefree and joyful. And the whole process leading up to the trip was amazing for my other children. Max’s sisters see their brother going through a hard time and they can’t help him. Make-A-Wish focused on the whole family and made Max’s sisters feel special. It was a lot of healing for the whole family.”
Max continues to consult with doctors in Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle for his treatment. Kari and her husband Josh made the decision to give back by including Make-A-Wish in their living trust. “We got a priceless gift from Make-A-Wish. The whole process, the trip, the volunteers who worked on our wish—it was all amazing. Why wouldn’t we give back?” says Kari. “It was easy to do. Pick up the phone and get in touch with an attorney. It’s important to give now and to give when you no longer need your assets.”
Join our many supporters who help Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington create lasting memories for the children and families we serve by including us in your will or estate plan. You can help future generations of local children replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope when their wishes come true.