Eight-year-old RyAnne made a simple wish. She wanted a safe place where she can play because playing outdoors is not usually an option for her.
Battling osteogenesis imperfecta, a life-threatening form of brittle bone disease, RyAnne has experienced more than 80 bone fractures. She has undergone multiple surgeries to stabilize her arms and legs and has regular IV infusion treatments to help with her ongoing bone pain. “The rehabilitation is long and painful, which affects every aspect of her life and the whole family,” said her mom, Stephanie.
Last year, RyAnne began to imagine her perfect play space: a room in her house that was equipped just for her to enjoy safely. A place that matched her exuberant personality. This idea became RyAnne’s wish.
When Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington volunteers met RyAnne, she told them her vision: a colorful playroom with polka dots on the walls, a rolling desk at her level filled with art supplies, a foam pit and a physical therapy swing to help her with balance. RyAnne even showed her volunteers a picture she had drawn of her ideal playroom.
RyAnne’s volunteer, Laura, was amazed by how much thought RyAnne had given to her wish and was touched by RyAnne’s personality, especially in spite of everything she has gone through. “RyAnne's smile lights up the room!” said her volunteer, Laura. “She is full of spunk and has a can-do attitude.”
Meanwhile, RyAnne’s volunteers rolled up their sleeves and went to work. Sentinel Construction and their volunteers had already built a ramp for the room’s entrance, added extra insulation, installed lighting and a foam pit, added new carpet and constructed a corkboard and chalk board. Then, Make-A-Wish volunteers stocked her custom desk with art supplies and crafts, filled her foam pit with balloons, decorated the walls and stuffed RyAnne’s reading nook with books and pillows.
When RyAnne and her family arrived for the reveal of her new room, they were welcomed home by members of the local high school band.
Then, RyAnne saw her new room for the first time and explored it all. She laughed from her swing, threw balloons from her foam pit and, finally, refused to leave her room even to eat lunch. RyAnne’s family shared in her excitement. “We’re so thankful and we just appreciate everything,” said her mom, Stephanie. “The whole process from beginning to end was just amazing—beyond our expectations.”
That night, after everyone else had gone home, RyAnne and her family camped out together in RyAnne’s playroom. “Having a ‘safe’ playroom accessible to RyAnne—that she can enjoy at all stages of healing—is a dream come true for all of us,” said Stephanie. “We couldn't be happier!”
Special thanks: Wish-granting volunteers Laura Shaw and Emily Greene, South Kitsap High School band, Sentinel Construction, Dawn Wilkinson of Six-Walls, Designs by Mara, Sheraton Seattle, Space Needle, Johnny Walker of Almost Candid Photo and Frame