Rib Lake, WI- A local teenager with aortic stenosis goes on a shopping spree to GameStop with a little help from Kids Wish Network.
Thirteen-year-old Derrick is a very unflappable young man; nothing gets him down. Everything just rolls off his back with a laugh, which he does often. Derrick has a bright personality and always has a ready smile. For this teenager, his main interests revolve around a screen. No, he doesn’t watch a lot of TV, but instead works on his hand-eye coordination while playing his favorite Xbox and Playstation 2 games. However, Derrick is no “noob”; he is a top gamer and absolutely loves the time he spends in various different worlds. When he’s involved in these different games, he no longer has to deal with his real life situation.
Derrick was born with aortic stenosis, which is a valvular heart disease in which the aortic valve becomes narrower than normal, impeding the flow of blood. For Derrick, this has meant having balloon valvuloplasty as a child, which involves a balloon being inflated to stretch the valve and allow greater blood flow. At nine years old, Derrick endured surgery to repair his narrowed valves, but he has since outgrown those repairs and has had to undergo yet more corrective treatments.
While Derrick was going in for surgery, his parents were contacted by a Kids Wish Network professional fundraiser and told about the charity’s mission to grant wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. Derrick’s parents informed the caller of Derrick’s serious condition and he was quickly assigned to Wish Coordinator, Vanessa. Upon being given the chance to wish for anything, Derrick asked to go on a shopping spree in his favorite store, GameStop. Vanessa smiled when she heard this and, with the help of Wish Funding Specialist, Megan, and some very generous sponsors, she made Derrick’s wish come true in a very special way.
According to his father, Daniel, Derrick was “pretty excited” before his wish started and could hardly sit still. At 9:30 am on a Tuesday, Derrick was picked up from his school in a limousine from Paradise Limo Coach. As he climbed into the vehicle, his friends, who had been told about his wish, cheered him on and called out for Derrick to pick out some games for them. Having never ridden in a limo before, Derrick said that he “really liked” it. From there, he was driven in style to his local GameStop location. He’d been there plenty of times, but never like this. For hours, Derrick shopped around and picked up all the best games and game systems that his heart desired: “I got a Wii system and plenty of games for it and my Xbox!” Following the generosity of Kids Wish Network and Derrick’s sponsors, the manager of GameStop even pitched in with his own money! Derrick definitely had the time of his life.
Upon arriving home, Derrick and his brother jumped into the gaming world headfirst! So far, as it’s only been a day past his wish, Derrick’s favorite game is Rock Band 2 and he’s gotten quite good at the medium level hit, “Eye of the Tiger.” As lead singer and lead guitarist, Derrick is honing his “star” skills while his brother tries desperately to keep up on the drums. Derrick is now in a world of gaming fun and can’t thank Kids Wish Network enough.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Derrick’s wish come true: Wal-Mart, Colby VFW, Maple Island, James Peterson & Sons, Inc., Kraft Pizza Company, Merrill Eagles Club, GameStop, Paradise Limo Coach and Enerquip, LLC.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at www.kidswishnetwork.org