WHITE LAKE – Imagine being 10, and not being able to enjoy carefree moments running, jumping and skipping with your best friends. That is what life is like for Michelle, a bubbly and thoughtful little girl who at only a year old was diagnosed with Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), a rare genetic disorder characterized by neurological difficulties. Michelle wears leg braces and depending on the day needs the assistance of either a walker or wheelchair to get around. “Her illness affects how she walks, her speech, how she eats and her motor skills,” said her mother Linda. “She needs help with everything that she does.” Although Michelle must live her life different than her friends, she loves all of the same things that most little girls enjoy like pizza, listening to NSYNC and playing with her Barbie dolls.
Michelle’s name was forwarded to Kids Wish Network, a charity that makes dreams come true for children with life threatening illnesses by one of its professional telephone fundraisers. Michelle told wish coordinator T.J. that she wished for a battery operated go-cart so that she could enjoy playing outside with all of her friends. As soon as T.J. got the green light on what Michelle was wishing for, she quickly raced to the finish line to bring Michelle her street of dreams. But even before Michelle received her big wish, Kids Wish Network sent her a gift box filled with all types of Barbie merchandise, gift certificates to Toys “R” Us and Pizza Hut. She also was thrilled to receive autographed memorabilia from the Olsen Twins and a personally autographed photo from President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.
Before long, Michelle received her special delivery, a Yerf-Dog Fun Kart 3100. “She was so excited when the go-cart arrived,” said her mother. “She couldn’t wait for it to be assembled. It has been so wonderful for her to be able to enjoy doing something all by herself.” Since receiving her go-cart, Michelle has experienced a newly found independence.
Her mother said, “Kids Wish Network has been great. T.J. has a heart of gold and really put herself in Michelle’s shoes.” Although Michelle will still have to deal with the challenges of battling her illness, her new go-cart puts her in the driver’s seat navigating her on the road to personal happiness.
Kids Wish Network would like to graciously thank Flexible Flyer for donating a Yerf-Dog Fun Kart 3100 and making Michelle’s wish 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.