Kimberly is a Registered Nurse and a mother of two. When her daughter, Mackenzie, was four years old, she was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a disease of the bile ducts. This condition eventually lead to liver failure, requiring her to have a liver transplant in 2007. Just one year after her transplant, Mackenzie’s wish to go to a theme park in Florida was granted by Make-A-Wish.
Recently, Kimberly and Mackenzie helped grant a wish for another child currently living with a critical illness. This contribution was a special way to celebrate 10 years since Mackenzie’s transplant and her graduation from university earlier this year. Here, Kimberly shares why her family wants to give back.
Our Wish Experience
“When Mackenzie was in the hospital, the social workers encouraged us to refer her for a wish. I’m so grateful to them. A wish wasn’t something that I would have thought we needed, but we did.
We had an amazing time even before we left for the wish trip. We bedazzled our Make-A-Wish t-shirts – added rhinestones and glitter to them and we definitely stood out when we got on the plane. The captain and the staff made us feel very special. Everyone from the flight crew to the staff at the resort and theme parks treated us like VIPs. Mackenzie loved the roller coasters and she kept begging us to go on with her. We were exhausted! She researched each one and wanted to ride them all.
The trip meant so much to us because we were finally able to just have fun after so much tension in our lives. It was fun to come home and make family albums with photos from our wish trip. We also have an autograph book of all the characters’ signatures. These little tokens provide great memories.”
Our Decision to Support Make-A-Wish
“Our decision to support Make-A-Wish is about sharing our gratitude. We felt so grateful that Mackenzie had this opportunity to experience all of the joy and wonder of her wish. I was grateful that we weren’t focused on her illness for a while. Make-A-Wish eases the pain, you forget about the illness and you just enjoy an experience that’s tailored to your needs and your family.
What’s really incredible to me is the number of people that you can help by supporting a wish; it has a ripple effect through the family, the community and beyond.
I would really encourage people to get involved in any way they can. Volunteer, donate or spread the word. Give a donation in honour of someone. You can make a real difference and help others. I am so thankful to all those who give to help make wishes come true for kids like Mackenzie. We never could have had this experience without you.”
Why Did You Want to Grant a Wish?
“We’re celebrating important milestones in Mackenzie’s life and this felt like the right time to reflect on how the wish impacted us and do something to give back. I always planned to do something like this. I watched Mackenzie get better and now that she’s doing well, we have brought people together to help us support the granting of another child’s wish. As a nurse, I know how important it is to have programs available to help families through difficult times. Accepting the help from Make-A-Wish was truly humbling and now we’re ready to give back.
It felt wonderful to be able to help grant a child’s wish this year. We put together a special package for the child and family; it was so much fun to reflect on Mackenzie’s wish while we helped grant one for another child. We are so excited that this family will experience the same joy that we did all those years ago.”
To the Parent Whose Child is Living with a Critical Illness
“I understand how hard it is. When Mackenzie was sick, I surrounded myself with family and friends. You’re not alone. Reach out to more people going through what you’re going through. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. One day, hopefully you can offer support to someone else going through this.
Don’t hesitate to refer your child for a wish. They deserve it. Embrace the experience and enjoy it, it’s such a special time when your child gets to be a kid again. Accept the wish, accept it with gratitude and in the future, give back in any way you can.”
Get Involved and Help Grant Wishes!
DONATE to help fund wishes. Every donation makes a difference.
FUNDRAISE for your local Make-A-Wish chapter by participating in a fundraising event or hosting one yourself.
TEACH your children/students about giving back by starting a Kids For Wish Kids® committee at school.
PARTICIPATE in Make-A-Wish Rope for Hope. Learn more at ropeforhope.ca.
VOLUNTEER as a wish granter in your region and help guide wish families through the wish process.
Visit makeawish.ca to learn more about how you can help grant wishes.