What does it really take to fulfill the perfect wish? For 11-year-old Kiki, it took a community of individuals rallying together across the globe.
You see, Kiki wished to have a companion dog. But not any dog.
Born with intractable epilepsy, Kiki’s parents were told the fatality rate of her condition was 100%. Eleven-years-later, Kiki continues to defy the odds.
Kiki’s medical condition continues to progress, so her parents made the difficult decision to pull her from school this past year. Being homebound and separated from her friends, Kiki longed for a companion throughout her day.
As one of eight children, Kiki’s household is very lively. Her family hoped to find an older labradoodle who was comfortable around kids.
That’s where Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington, and wish-granting volunteers Teresa and Maddie came in.
The duo searched for hours for the perfect companion. Teresa stumbled across a post on Ellen DeGeneres’ website promoting labradoodles. Teresa commented on the post, asking for recommendations of any known breeders.
And that’s where the true power of community shone brightly. A woman residing in Finland saw the comment and contacted a breeder in Utah, Max. Max reached out directly to Teresa and did a nationwide search. He found a family living in Atlanta who was searching for a new, perfect home for their six-year-old labradoodle service dog, Esther.
Esther previously belonged to another 11-year-old girl, who also suffered from epilepsy, and was one of five children. “It was a match made in Heaven,” says mom, Tiffany. Esther was flown from Atlanta to Washington state and united with Kiki.
Although she is nonverbal, Kiki has always shared a special language and connection with animals, particularly dogs. “We will go to the beach and dogs, big and small, will fly up to Kiki and be so gentle with her,” says mom.
The connection between the two was instant.
Kiki underwent surgery this past month. During that time, “Esther was just moping around the house. She didn’t want to play outside or go for walks. She just went from window to window looking for Kiki,” said Kiki’s grandma. When the family finally got permission to bring Esther for a visit, she immediately jumped on Kiki’s bed and snuggled up right next to her.
“Kiki’s face lit up with the biggest smile; a smile I hadn’t seen much of lately,” said Tiffany, “I thought, ‘there’s her happy.’”
All who have the pleasure of knowing Kiki describe her to be the “biggest ray of sunshine,” and a true example of what it means to be a fighter. Her life itself is a miracle.
Kiki’s wish was made possible thanks to the incredible power of community, and you, too, can be part of that community. Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington rely on volunteers just like Teresa and Maddie to create wishes for children like Kiki. Sign up today at akwa.wish.org/volunteer.