GAUTIER – Danielle is a sweet and helpful 9-year-old who loves Britney Spears, basketball and all animals, especially her cats Matt and Suzie. Danielle loves keeping busy and has many friends that share all of her same interests. It is hard to fathom that this active little girl is battling an inner struggle with the horrible, genetic disease known as cystic fibrosis that has also stricken her younger sister. While most healthy children’s days are filled with play, Danielle’s are filled with a strict regimen of hindering nebulizer treatments, chest therapies and a multitude of medications.
Through a twist of fate, a Kids Wish Network professional fundraiser contacted Danielle’s mother Christy by phone and asked if she knew of a sick child in need of a wish. A Wish Coordinator soon spoke with Danielle and discovered that she wanted a tree house that she could have as her very own special refuge, away from doctors, hospitals and medicine, something to take her mind off of her condition: a temporary escape away from it all. Her wish coordinator partnered with friends like Al Sturgeon from Habitat for Humanity of West Jackson County, and quickly they hammered out a plan to have Danielle sitting on top of the world from her favorite tree in her backyard.
First, Al contacted Ed McMurtry of Westin Homes and not only convinced him to provide designs to the tree house, but he also persuaded him to donate all of the materials for the fabulous fortress. A local store, Once Upon A Child, agreed to donate a wooden toy box for Danielle’s new ‘penthouse’, and Dominos Pizza of Gautier agreed to provide food for the Habitat for Humanity dream builders during the project.
Danielle’s Wish Coordinator then contacted the Mayor of Gautier, Ken Taylor, and asked if he would not only represent Kids Wish Network at the ‘open house’ ceremony, but if he would be able to present her with something special to commemorate her new tree retreat; he readily agreed. “I’m very proud to be involved with something that makes wishes come true, like Kids Wish Network, ” said Mayor Ken Taylor. “As Mayor of Gautier, it’s an honor to represent all of the people of this city in this wonderful presentation. I am also proud of Habitat for Humanity of West Jackson County for its involvement and spirit of volunteerism.”
“Habitat for Humanity is all about making dreams come true, and this has been a wonderful opportunity for us to help Danielle’s dream become a reality,” said Al Sturgeon of Habitat for Humanity of West Jackson County. “We didn’t expect to build our very first house in a tree, but the opportunity presented to us from Kids Wish Network has helped us launch our efforts in a most memorable way.”
Kids Wish Network is thrilled to bring some happiness into Danielle’s life by making her dream come true. And soon her younger sister, who also suffers with cystic fibrosis, will experience the magic of a wish when we send her on a trip to Disney World.
Kids Wish Network and Habitat for Humanity of West Jackson County would like to graciously thank all of those who helped to make Danielle’s backyard tree sprout into a special haven of childhood dreams. For more information, contact Shelley at (888) 918-9004.
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, like Danielle and her sister, 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.