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Owen was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means that part of his heart is underdeveloped. He has undergone five open-heart surgeries and had a stroke as a newborn. Despite these challenges, there’s no limit to how much love Owen’s heart can hold.
When Owen was three, his parents were told that he was in heart failure and needed a transplant. His parents, Brian and Laura, contacted Make-A-Wish, hoping to give Owen a break from persistent testing and treatments, and let him have a special experience while he was strong enough to enjoy it.
Owen looked up to his grandfather who was a fire captain. He wanted to follow in his footsteps and said, “I wish to be a firefighter.”
The wish day was incredible, starting with a big red fire truck pulling up to Owen’s home, which was very exciting for everyone in the neighbourhood. Owen met his new firefighter buddy, Shaun, who accompanied him to the Fire Service Training Centre. Owen was given his very own firefighter uniform and Shaun taught him how to put out a fire. Later, Owen’s friends joined in for a demonstration of what he had learned and a celebratory barbeque. Seeing how many people were involved in making Owen’s wish possible gave him and his family strength that has carried on even after his wish day.
For a long time, whenever Owen was having a difficult day, his family would put on a video of his wish, and he would grow excited and happy all over again. The entire family enjoyed the wish together, letting go of their worries for a moment they will never forget.
Owen’s wish day made him happy, not for one day, but every time he recalled it. And something truly remarkable happened. Owen’s health improved, and he was no longer in heart failure. Thanks to excellent medical care, and a strong spirit, Owen is now 11 years old and his family was so impressed by the transformational power of his wish that they were determined to share it with others. Owen’s family actively support of Make-A-Wish. Brian rappels at Make-A-Wish® Rope for Hope each year to raise funds to help grant more wishes. He’s even encouraged colleagues at work to join him. The family has also shared their story many times with our supporters and other families with children facing critical illnesses.
“We feel inspired for Owen’s future,” said Laura. “Watching so many others volunteer to help make this day special for Owen made us stronger.”