Alex is an energetic six-year old, who loves Star Wars, video games, building with Legos, and playing outside – just like many other kids around his age. What differentiates Alex, however, is the fact that he has had 10 surgeries within the past six years.
Alex was born with a congenital heart condition, but when you ask Alex, he simply says, “My heart was not born right.” Because of this, over the years he has had to be away from school and his friends to be in the hospital, and that has caused him to feel lonely and scared.
Alex’s mom recalls the day that she and her husband found out about Alex’s diagnosis. She was 24 weeks pregnant, and the diagnosis left them numb. Fast forward a couple years; Alex is two years old and has already been involved in several surgeries, in an effort to reroute the circulation of his heart. Three years later, Alex began to develop plastic bronchitis, a rare complication of his heart surgeries. Alex’s mom, Vanessa, describes it best when she says, “This was a devastating diagnosis for Alex and our family, as they explained this was a sign his heart was beginning to fail and would eventually need a transplant. The news of this was completely heart shattering. I will never forget them taking Alex out of the room so they could explain the devastation of this diagnosis to us. It felt like our heart was being ripped from us.” Alex and his family know that eventually he will have to have a heart transplant, but for the time being, they are focusing on appreciating every moment they have together – to enjoy the important things in life.
When Alex’s family heard about Make-A-Wish® North Dakota, they knew this would fit well with their emphasis on celebrating life. When asked what Alex would like for his wish, he had a unique response. “I wish to see a real anaconda!” he exclaimed.
Alex’s wish granters helped to make this a reality, by arranging for him to go to San Diego, where his wish would come true at the San Diego Zoo. Alex and his family spent time exploring the zoo and seeing everything from monkeys in the trees to an aquarium full of tropical fish. And of course, Alex got to see a real life anaconda! “It literally was like a dream coming true for him, and it was much deserved. The excitement and happiness Alex had during his trip was literally beaming from him. Everywhere we went he was skipping and smiling!” says Vanessa.
Additionally, Alex got to go zip lining, to the beach, and Alex’s favorite – LEGOLAND®. While all of this was fun for Alex, he notes that what was the most fun was not having to be in a hospital. Instead, he and his family spent quality time together having fun and making wonderful memories. “I am the luckiest boy to have gotten a wish trip.” Alex notes.
Wishes like Alex’s are made possible through support from many different people and there is more than one way people can get involved. By donating unused airline miles someone can help get wish kids like Alex to their dream destination. Find out how you can give wishes wings here!