SOLON, Ohio — The COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty for families of children who are critically ill or recovering from a critical illness.
Before the global health crisis, hundreds of children in Ohio were waiting for their wishes to be granted by the Make-A-Wish foundation.
All travel-related wishes have been postponed for the foreseeable future, but the foundation is still finding ways to spread messages of hope and give sick children something to look forward to in the days ahead.
For many Make-A-Wish families, time is of the essence.
“So the timing for this wish was amazing because it gave us something else to talk about and look forward to,” Dawn Moore said.
Moore’s son Devin is thirteen years old.
He was diagnosed with tetralogy of fallot as a newborn. The rare heart defect causes oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart and into the rest of the body.
“For most of my life I’ve had shortness of breath and it’s been hard for me to do any physical activity,” Devin said.
Since his birth, he has had three open-heart surgery procedures.
Devin is still recovering from his most recent valve replacement in March, and the Make-A-Wish foundation hooked him up with a home gaming system to help him pass the time.
“It really helped take my mind off my surgery and help occupy while I couldn’t really do much,” Devin said.
For thousands of other wish kids in America and hundreds in Ohio, wishes will have to wait.
“Our chapter alone has postponed nearly 150 wishes so far and I know that number is climbing almost every day,” Stephanie McCormick said.
McCormick’s chapter grants wishes for children in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Dawn Moore empathizes with parents caring for sick children who had been looking forward to their wish before the pandemic.
“With it being the pandemic and travel being one of the things that’s so significantly affected,” Moore said. “It’s just the indefinite of not knowing when, if at all, it’s going to happen.”
Time is precious for some families of critically ill children who qualify for rush wishes.
“Those are very very difficult conversations to have and it’s really not only so hard on the family, but on our wish program staff as well,” McCormick said.
The Make-A-Wish foundation is still granting at-home project wishes, online shopping sprees and FaceTime calls from celebrities.
“They might come on and say you know, ‘I’m not able to see you in person right now, but hopefully down the road we’re going to get together once again,’” McCormick said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation has launched a “Messages of Hope” campaign.
You can share a message of hope with a child waiting for their wish.
Simply create a message, video, photo, song or dance to share your kind regards. Post your message to any social media outlet and tag the Make-A-Wish foundation while using the hashtag #WishesAreWaiting.