EUPORA – Latasha is a quiet and shy 10-year-old who loves anything pink, listening to Destiny’s Child, coloring and girly stuff like collecting dolls and shopping. With all that Latasha must endure in her life, it is no surprise that she looks to find comfort in her favorite things. At 5 months old Latasha was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, a painful disease that has caused damage to some of her major organs. She also has experienced several sickle cell crises, brief and excruciating attacks of her blood vessels constricting. It is linked with an infection in the lungs, throat or in the intestines. There are many other risks involved including seizures, strokes, coma, blood clots and kidney failure. “Sometimes when she is in pain she won’t tell you, but I can tell that she isn’t feeling well just by looking at her,” said her mother Linda. “She is tired and draggy most of the time and usually just likes to sit in front of the television. When her friends are over she would rather sit on the front porch and watch them play instead of being out there and playing with them.”
To give Latasha relief from her illness, a wish coordinator from Kids Wish Network was contacted about Latasha and her wish for a shopping spree. Her coordinator quickly put together a personalized shopping extravaganza at the Metro Mall so that Latasha could shop all of her cares away. But even before the wish was to take place, Kids Wish Network sent her a gift box filled with all of her favorite things. She received jewelry, colored pencils, coloring books, games, a radio and cassette player, cds, puzzles, a Giga Pet, clothing accessories, stuffed animals and dolls.
And then Latasha’s big day arrived. Her mother said, “As soon as we got to the mall they started taking pictures with her and Latasha began smiling.” Latasha and her mother were also treated to lunch so that they could rest and refuel for the full agenda of participating stores that they would be visiting. In addition to shopping with all of the gift cards, Kids Wish Network gave Latasha gift certificates that she could spend at any of the stores at the mall. She had so much fun choosing all of the things that she wanted the most. According to Latasha’s mother one of her favorite outfits that she picked out was a pink dress with matching shoes that she’ll be wearing for Easter. “She had such a fun time picking out clothes,” said her mother. “Latasha didn’t look sad even once when she was shopping. She was walking, talking and smiling throughout the entire wish.”
Kids Wish Network would like to graciously thank Dillard’s, Photo Mania, Gadzook’s, Nick’s Shoes, Kids Footlocker, T-Shirts Ltd., McRae’s, Ruby Tuesday and Gamestop for making Latasha’s shopping spree a dream come true.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of their wish granting services, please call (813)891-9374 or toll free at (888)918-9004. You can also visit its web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.