CLEVELAND — Construction on the “Home for the Holidays” house is complete and it is ready to be given away to a lucky winner in the HBA Home raffle.
News 5 is a proud media sponsor of this first-year drawing, which benefits Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, and the Home Builders Association's Charitable and Education Foundation.
Make-A-Wish has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many wishes are travel wishes, and restrictions have been prevented due to the pandemic. Even so, two children here in Northeast Ohio were still able to get their wishes granted.
Nick Cherrstrom suffers from Hunter’s Syndrome and is on a mission to make the hospital a little more welcoming.
The condition is rare— only about 500 cases around the country— and only exclusively affects boys .
“It started with me. I’m a carrier of it. We had no idea.” Nick’s mother Amy said. “We thought we were having three healthy sons. We didn’t see this coming at all. It took us by surprise.”
When Make-A-Wish comes around, most kids ask for a trip to Disney World or to meet a famous athlete. Not Nick Cherrstrom.
“My wish is to donate some money to the hospital so they don’t run out of toys," Nick said.
Diagnosed at 3 years old, Nick has been undergoing enzyme replacement weekly.
“We’re so inspired by him. He has a rare genetic disorder and he’s had hundreds of needle sticks in one year,” his mother said.
As a result, Nick has gotten to know his way around the hospital. He thinks they’re great for helping sick people, but they lag behind in the toy department.
“I know that the hospital is running out, and I don’t want them to run out of toys," he said.
Nick also knows his way around a toy store and feels his gift of game can be used for the greater good.
“He’s a toy connoisseur. He’s like a toy specialist," his mother said. “He finds all of these toys that no one has ever heard of.”
Because of the pandemic, Make-A-Wish is still granting wishes by dipping into their reserve funding.
And another child, named Evelyn Tussing, had her wish of owning a horse came true this holiday season.
‘It’s always been a horse,” her mother Kelly said. ‘They (Make-A-Wish) provide an outstanding amount of hope and brightness to such dark days.”
Evelyn has Cystic Fibrosis. She undergoes a rigorous medical regimen at the hospital, but a treatment trot on her new horse is an extra dose of therapy for the body and mind.
“When she rides him it vibrates her and helps break up her mucus in her lungs,” Tussing said.
The most rewarding part of it all for her mother is not the horse, or newfound friendships at school.
It’s that she’s an ordinary girl. An ordinary 6-year-old with a horse.
“She’s not labeled as a sick child. She’s labeled as someone who loves this huge animal,” Tussing said. She’s just Evelyn. It’s just what she loves.”
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