Lia was born in 1984 and diagnosed with Alexanders disease, a rare form of Leukodystrophy, within the next few years. By the age of 4, Lia (and our mom) had seen the inside of a hospital or doctor’s office for more time than many people do in decades and decades of life.
Enter Make-A-Wish. Lia’s wish to meet Mickey Mouse was the first San Antonio wish to be granted by the central and south Texas chapter in 1988. The Make-A-Wish mission is to “create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses,” but what this wish did for our family was life-changing for us all.
Lia was not expected to live much longer than a year past when her wish was granted in 1988. When she was still with us the following year, our parents decided that warranted a celebration – and back to Disney World we went. This tradition of celebrating life with each other continued just about annually over the next 20 years, until Lia’s health prevented her from returning. These trips, starting with Lia’s Wish trip, were about so much more than just a vacation. These trips were time together in a place where Lia’s disability was no issue and was even celebrated.
Lia was able to have her wish granted, which created an overflow of traditions and joy that we celebrated as a family. It became our bond, our happiest memories, and our stories.
I know our family is not unique in experiencing the lasting effects of a child’s Wish. These wishes allow children with critical illnesses to experience some wonderful childhood joy. This joy overflows into the lives of siblings (like me and Mollee) and parents. No matter the circumstances, every child deserves some magic, and parents deserve happy memories of their children. In the hardest times of Lia’s illness and since her passing, these memories are what we cling to the most. Happy memories of our family tradition that started with a wish.
For 40 years, Make-A-Wish has brought transformational wishes to more than 330,000 children and families. We are asking you to donate what you can to add at least one more precious child to that count in honor of Lia, and another family can experience the power of a wish and all of the wonderful things that overflow from it.