A Wish Granted – Emily is now a “Wish Kid”

480x250Our family had been dealing with another rough patch recently. Emily was struggling and had to be admitted for the first time in months. My father was fighting hard against the latest progresses of prostrate cancer, but his body was having a hard time keeping up. We needed some good news. We received that, and then some.

During the inpatient stay Liz had received a call from someone in Ohio. She told her to return the call at her convenience. Unfortunately convenience doesn’t have a standing appointment on my wife’s schedule. When she got a moment to return the call she got a surprise. The call was to inform us Emily had been selected to have her wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana chapter.

It had been a while since we submitted paperwork for Emily to become a “Wish Kid”. The thought of even applying was one we debated.   If you are reading this you likely know the struggles Emily and our family have been through. Her life has been full of daily ups and downs medically. Even with everything we have been through we didn’t think Make-A-Wish was for us. We aren’t big on asking for help or making a big deal about what we are facing. The prospects of being granted a wish and having so much given to us just didn’t feel right. At the time the option first showed up on our radar Emily was doing ok overall. Was she even sick enough to be granted a wish? So many thoughts crossed our minds. After encouragement from a few family friends whose medically complex kids went on wish trips, we finally applied.

The local chapter had gotten in touch with Dr. Gupta who, according to the caller, filled out and returned the paperwork faster than any case they had dealt with before. Just one more amazing thing “Dr. Gu” has done for “his baby”. Imagine the shock and excitement Liz felt when in the midst of a pretty rough inpatient stay she got that kind of news.

We were trying to keep the news as quiet as possible. There was a process to go through, and frankly Make-A-Wish isn’t keen on families sharing about the wishes ahead of time. Our excitement led to the news trickling out to family and trusted contacts who would let us be the ones to break the good news. Then my fathers health declined faster than we had expected. The time wasn’t right to share. Shortly thereafter he passed away due to complications from prostate cancer. During his fight our oldest son had learned of Lokai bracelets and their story. He mentioned them to my sister who bought some for my parents. The bracelets and story behind them meant a lot to my parents.

My cousin Heather was very close to my father. They shared a special bond. Heather had taken to the story of the Lokai bracelets as well. She had taken Jonathon to get one while we were in town for the funeral. Upon entering the store they spotted a neon version. They read about the Make-A-Wish tie in with the limited edition bracelet. Jonathon insisted they get this style instead of the version my parents had. He told Heather about Emily getting a wish granted. When Heather returned with one for Jonathon and a smaller size for Emily we were pleasantly surprised.


Limited-Edition Neon Lokai


As I type this we are still waiting for our initial in-house meeting with our Wish-Granting Volunteers. While we have a good idea of what Emily’s wish would be we are waiting for the visit to make anything official. The organization likes to leave the decision up to the child almost entirely. While considerations are given to medical conditions and other family members wishes the ultimate decision is up to the child. Yes you read that right, other family members wishes. Our entire family will be included in Emily’s wish. While ultimately Emily is the one struggling with physical and mental pain, this permeates every nook and cranny of our family. Our boys have been incredible through it all. I could write thousands of words about each of them but I’ve likely bored you enough up to this point. The boys have sacrificed many things kids their age usually get to do. The only vacation our family has taken was when Liz, Emily and I went to Pennsylvania last spring break for medical specialist appointments. So the prospects of our entire family, especially the kids, getting some time away from the day to day is what makes us the most excited about the wish trip. And what a time away it will be. Make-A-Wish takes care of everything. They don’t do anything second rate. They take all-inclusive to a whole new level.

Many of you are likely thinking, “I’ve seen stories on TV and listened to the radiothons. Make-A-Wish kids are usually in the final stages of their life” In short, Emily is not dying.  The long answer is much more complicated though. The best short explanation comes from the Make-A-Wish website;

We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

The key phrase is life-threatening. So while you usually only hear or see the stories about kids who are terminal, wishes are granted for kids at various times in their fight. Just the knowns with Emily, including her inevitable transplant, put her in the life-threatening bucket. Her unknowns are too varied to allude to here. Needless to say while she fits the mold of a wish kid, she is going to be on this planet inspiring people for many years to come.

The impact a Make-A-Wish trip can have on an entire family was put into great context below by Lokai. Stay tuned to this site as we will not only be sharing updates during the planning stages, our goal is to share our trip with all of you via blog posts, pictures and video.


Make a Wish Lokai Bracelet


20 Responses to “A Wish Granted – Emily is now a “Wish Kid”

  • Mark Light
    4 years ago

    This is great news for a little girl & family who REALLY deserves a bit of good news!!

    • chrisjtheisen
      4 years ago

      Thanks so much Mark. It is nice to get such great news, especially unexpectedly. We greatly appreciate your continued support on Emme’s journey.

  • Beverly Theisen
    4 years ago

    My heart is full of sunshine. So happy for all of you.

  • Sue Johnson
    4 years ago

    I am so thrilled for you, your family is due for some happiness

  • Carrie McIntire
    4 years ago

    So happy for all of you!

  • So happy for all the family. They are all my Heros.❤️

  • Tina Siefert
    4 years ago

    I think it’s wonderful and totally appropriate for Emme and your whole family to have a wish granted! I have at least 3 friends in other places who have children who have had wishes granted, and while all were sick at the time, none of them were ever terminal. I’m so happy for you all!

    • chrisjtheisen
      4 years ago

      Thanks Tina. Just hard when so many people associate terminal illness with Make-A-Wish when they do so much more.

  • Great read Chris. Our family continues to pray for yours. Can’t wait to see that cutie pies’ face, and the boys, on your wish trip!

    • chrisjtheisen
      4 years ago

      Thanks Todd, your continued support means a lot. Emme wakes up in the morning and tells Liz she wants to watch “her” TV 😉

  • Heather Scott
    4 years ago

    My heart is overflowing. 💗💚💛💙💜

  • So HAPPY for all of you. No one is more deserving!!!

    • chrisjtheisen
      4 years ago

      Thanks Jan, we are grateful to be selected and for the support. We are excited but still hard to put into words

  • Andy de Seriere
    4 years ago

    We are thrilled for all of you. Emme is beautiful and brave…. And so is her entire support crew! We’re so inspired by all of you.

  • Stephanie Daily
    4 years ago

    I’ve volunteered for Make A Wish for years, your family is so deserving! Enjoy everything, MAW does everything exceptionally! ❤️

    • chrisjtheisen
      4 years ago

      Your campaign a few years back for that little girl was what got me interested in the org on a more actionable level. Before that I had just admired from afar. Had no idea at the time we would use their services

Trackbacks & Pings

  • It's Semi-Official - Disney Here We Come - Emme Jo :

    […] We announced a handful of weeks back that Emily was chosen to have a wish granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. With so much going on between then and now we haven’t been able to get an update together. While the details are few and far between at the moment here is what we can tell you; […]

    3 years ago

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