Vuitton Squad 2018
On December 27th 2011, I brought my otherwise healthy 16-year-old son Lewie to the hospital for what I thought was a reaction to antibiotics prescribed for a sinus infection. Around 11 pm that night, he was diagnosed with a tumor in the base of his skull and was transferred to Albany Medical Center for emergency surgery the next morning. While at the time, I couldn’t comprehend the severity of his illness or what the doctors were even telling me, I remember that day as if it were yesterday. It is the day that our lives and our family would change forever.
While the surgery went well, Lewie suffered from a pulmonary embolism, his lung collapsed and he slipped into a coma for over 4 weeks. When he finally came out of the coma, he was not able to eat, talk, walk, or hold his head up by himself. He had a trach and was on oxygen. He had little control over the movement of his arms and legs. He was 6 feet tall and about 95 pounds. He was very weak. And if that were not enough, he still needed to undergo 35 radiation treatments for the Cancer to prevent the tumor from growing back. Lewie was hospitalized for over 7 months.
It was during this time when I received a letter saying Lewie had been referred to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and they wanted to come and meet with us. Included in the letter was a form to fill out which would allow the Make-A-Wish team help my son come up with his wish. Now don’t forget that when Lewie came out of the coma he couldn’t talk. In order to communicate, we had worked out a form of communication thru a series of blinks and pointing at a letter chart to spell out words. It was a challenge, but those words were as clear as day; Beach, Florida, Miami Heat and Lebron James. And as sick as Lewie was at the time, Make-A-Wish never gave up on granting him his wish. In November 2013, our family was blessed with a 6-day trip to Fort Lauderdale, and tickets to a Miami Heat game.
From the moment we were picked up at our house in the chauffeured limo, we were treated like royalty. For us as a family, this was a mile stone in Lewie’s recovery. He was finally able to travel and that was something to celebrate for sure.
The Hotel Resort and Spa was on the Beach and was so luxurious. The trip included a Dinner cruise on the Jungle Queen Riverboat, tickets to the Jungle Island Zoo, and tickets to a Miami Heat Game in VIP seating. A beach wheelchair was provided which allowed Lewie to actually go right down to the Ocean and put his feet in. The pool and Jacuzzi were one of our daily favorites. Not a detail was missed. It was truly amazing. Up until this point, I had been nervous to travel with Lewie, but Make a Wish made sure we had what we needed and we never felt as if we were on our own.
This trip was exactly what my son and family needed. For over 2 years, we had occupied our days with Doctor Appointments and Therapy Sessions. Lewie just completed his senior year and graduated from South Colonie High School last month with his advanced regent’s diploma. Our life is good. But it is people like you that make our lives spectacular.
Since we have returned from Florida, we approach each day with a new outlook. This trip has given us the courage to dream big. We are not afraid to venture out of our circle and explore new things. We welcome new experiences and look forward to Lewie’s continuous recovery.
I would like to thank the Make-A-Wish Northeast New York for working so hard to make my son’s wish come true. It was perfect. But none of this would have been possible without the support of people like you. Because of you, my son’s wish came true. Ours is just one story. One child’s wish granted. Can you imagine how many lives will be impacted by just the people who read Lewie’s story? It is due to the generosity of people like you that make The Make a Wish program so successful. Any donation is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your support, Chris Perkinson