FARMINGTON-It only took ten minutes to change Kailee’s life forever. That’s approximately how long she was deprived of oxygen in a tragic accident that left her hanging from a swing when she was just 18 months old. “Her doctors are amazed that she’s still alive,” said her mother, Annie. Though her fighting spirit has kept her going, it hasn’t been an easy road. Kailee has severe brain damage from the accident, is confined to a wheelchair, is blind, uses a feeding tube, and requires 24-hour care.
In a support group for families with children who have suffered brain trauma Annie learned about Kids Wish Network, a charity that grants wishes for kids with life threatening illnesses; she decided to contact the organization about her special daughter. It wasn’t long before Wish Coordinator Luisa Frederiksen dove right in to make Kailee’s wish of having her very own spa a dream come true. “Her muscles are so tight from the brain injury that they are actually twisting her bones,” said Annie. “The warm water of a hot tub is the only thing that totally relaxes her; she loves it.”
Refusing to stop until Kailee was floating in complete relaxation, Luisa called Sara Wilkerson of Sundance Spas in Chino, CA for help. Sara readily agreed to not only help with Kailee’s wish, but to generously donate the entire water fantasy. “As soon as I called Sara, she didn’t even hesitate, she just said yes,” said Luisa. And Sara even set up the delivery and installation of Kailee’s wish by enlisting the help of Ray Schureman of Backyards of America.
“It is just wonderful,” Annie said of her daughter’s new hot tub. “She’s been in it everyday since we got it; she loves it.” Although it’s very hard to communicate with Kailee, Annie said that it’s very evident how much she’s always loved being in the warm water. “It’s her favorite thing at school, she smiles and you can tell she’s just so content,” Annie said. “Her muscles are so tight that she’s almost in a ball, but when she’s in the spa, she gets so comfortable that she can almost stretch out completely.”
When asked why she wanted to make this wish happen for Kailee, Luisa said it was simple. “Annie told me how she thought the spa would help put Kailee to sleep at night,” Luisa said. “I wanted to do anything I could to help alleviate some of the pressure in their lives.” And according to Annie, the hot tub has done just that. “It’s much easier to do her therapy in the water when she’s relaxed because it hurts her to do stretches otherwise,” said Annie. And since it’s in her backyard, Kailee can also enjoy the company of her older sister Cassie in the spa with her. “It’s like Cassie lost her sister on the day of the accident because things are so different,” Annie said. “But now they can share something together, and that’s important. This whole thing has just been wonderful.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank all of the gracious sponsors that helped make Kailee’s dream a reality: Sundance Spas, Backyards of America, Dura-Crete, Connely Company, and Lee Anderson.
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.