Ann Louise never eats on her own. Her nourishment comes through a feeding port. It’s been there ever since she can remember, a reminder of her fight against a congenital heart defect.
Her family tries everything – encouragement, pleading, even a feeding therapist. Nothing changes. Her parents and brothers just want to see Ann Louise eat like any other kid. It’s something you’d never think about – unless your child couldn’t do it.
A Chance for Change
Make-A-Wish® volunteers visit Ann Louise. She shares her vision of a perfect day … to go to the Florida theme parks and the chance for adventure on the park rides.
Her wish granters know how to transform a kid’s wish into an unforgettable spectacle. But, her family says, Ann Louise has a job to do, too.
She just has to “eat to grow big and strong” for her trip. Just like her brothers, just like her friends. That’s all. Ann Louise hears. She finds an ember of motivation, some seed of determination.
And for the first time, Ann Louise eats enough, on her own.
First Vacation Heals a Family
One week in Florida … and one week without any need for Ann Louise to use her feeding pump. A first, a triumph, a family’s hope realized. She even swallows her medication.
Her parents witness an endless montage of events that would be completely ordinary to most families. For them? Each moment is part of a warm wave of social, mental and physical healing.
Ask Mary Beth, Ann Louise’s mother, about what’s different now. She will tell you it’s seeing her daughter do something most parents take for granted. Ann Louise’s feeding port is gone; they kept it for about a year, just in case. Just before Ann Louis celebrated her fourth birthday, doctors removed it. Mary Beth is convinced the Make-A-Wish experience made this transformation possible.
Every time the family gathers for a meal, Ann Louise now seems just like any other kid her age. The impact of her wish continues … and makes her life better, every single day.