MOODY- Seventeen-year-old Tony has a dream: he wants to go to college. On the surface, that might not seem too extraordinary, but for this young man, it is exceptional. Tony was born with cystic fibrosis, a life threatening lung disease that causes excess fluid build up, severe lung infections and frequent hospitalizations. But even with his uncertain future, Tony doesn’t let it stop him from reaching his goals. “He graduates in May and if his health permits, he wants to take some college courses,” said his mother, Belinda.
But with Tony’s condition worsening and his stays in the hospital increasing, he was in need of something that would help take his mind off of his medical condition. So when another mother of a child suffering with a life threatening illness told Belinda about Kids Wish Network, she contacted them about her son. Soon Wish Coordinator TJ Whitlock made Tony’s wish of owning a laptop computer a dream come true. Not only did Kids Wish Network give him the computer of his dreams, but they also gave him Internet access for an entire year. “He absolutely loves it,” Belinda said. “He’s already used it for some research papers at school.”
Tony already has it hooked up to the Internet, so when he’s not doing schoolwork he can chat on line with his friends. “His friends are a God send,” Belinda said. “Whenever he’s in the hospital, they visit him and keep him occupied. It’s great that he can talk to them this way too.”
Tony may have to suffer through painful therapy and frequent visits to the doctor, but now no matter how he feels, all it takes is the touch of a button for him to keep up with assignments or his buddies. “He never wants anyone to feel sorry for him and I’ve always tried to let him be as normal as possible,” said Belinda. She said that his new computer helps in that respect as well. “I hope that Kids Wish Network knows what it means to these kids. A computer is something I could never afford for Tony myself. What the charity does is just as important to the parents as it is to the children.”
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.