Emmett, 8 (kidney transplant)
I wish to go to Walt Disney World
Born prematurely with chronic kidney disease, Emmett experienced frequent infections until his kidneys finally failed him and he required nightly dialysis at home for four years. Knowing that he could wait years for a new kidney, his mother put out a plea on social media for a live donor. Almost four years to the day that he started dialysis, Emmett received the gift of a kidney from a local woman who stepped up after seeing his mother’s social media post.
Following the surgery, his family spent two months away from home living at Ronald McDonald house so they could be near the hospital for important follow up visits. Today, Emmett continues to take medication and has a G-tube to help him take in 2.5 litres of water daily and administer medication. He will likely need another transplant in the future as he continues to mature.
Emmett’s wish was about having fun with his family who were by his side throughout his entire medical journey. He was particularly excited to have his aunt along on the wish as she was an instrumental part of his recovery. Emmett is a big Star Wars fan. During his week-long trip, Emmett made his own light sabre. On the day that he met Darth Vader, Emmett kept his light sabre handy for protection! He also loved riding roller coasters. He loved the speed which gave him an adrenaline rush. With each roller coaster that he rode, he got past his fear and his confidence grew.
The trip allowed each family member to process their emotions of everything they had been through and celebrate Emmett’s bravery. The culmination of this happened inside the Castle of Miracles at Give Kids the World, their home for the week when Emmett received his own star on the ceiling in a special ceremony. Emmett’s star, and the thousands of others inside the castle, symbolizes the courage, strength and bravery of every one of those kids and the journey they have been through.
His mom Leanne reflected on their week away, “It was nice to relax and not have to think about medical stuff. It was a chance to just let go!” She continued, “Having a child with a critical illness is an odd space to be in dealing with celebration and sorrow at the same time. On one hand we celebrated that he faced death and made it through, but on the other hand, you grieve that you had to go through that. Having Emmett’s wish granted provided another level of emotional healing for our family.”