Saginaw, MI- A young boy with sickle cell disease gets the day of his life with a little help from Kids Wish Network.
Nothing lights up a room like a bright smile, and Daniel’s is definitely one of the brightest. This friendly ten-year-old loves to keep you laughing with his wonderful sense of humor and his joking attitude. Daniel is also a great student and is one of the top in his math class. He’s a very fun-loving kid and enjoys his free time watching his favorite team, the Detroit Pistons, and playing games on his Wii system. Daniel can make any activity a load of fun, but even he has a hard time trying to make a blood transfusion amusing.
Daniel has sickle cell, a disease in which the red blood cells created in the bone marrow produce an abnormal form of hemoglobin. These blood cells have a difficult time passing through the blood vessels to reach the body’s tissues. For Daniel, this has meant spending a lot of his young life in and out of the hospital with bouts of severe pain. Currently he is on a pain management regimen and must endure blood transfusions as needed. In addition, Daniel has had to have his gallbladder removed and suffers constant respiratory problems.
Daniel’s “best day ever” started as a simple conversation between his mother and a social worker who helped patients with sickle cell. In this conversation, she mentioned Kids Wish Network and the wishes that they granted for children with life-threatening illnesses, like Daniel. After that, it wasn’t too long before Daniel was referred to Wish Coordinator, Jill, who gave him the chance to wish for anything he wanted. Daniel didn’t hesitate and asked for a shopping spree at Great Lakes Crossing so that he could satisfy all of his varied interests. Jill used a bit of her “Guardian Angel” magic and organized a fantastic trip to the mall including a stay at the Holiday Inn Express near the mall, lunch at Johnny Rockets and plenty of gift certificates and merchandise donated from some of Daniel’s favorite stores!
Daniel’s big day started early and ended late. After a great breakfast at the hotel to boost his energy, Daniel and his family began his shopping expedition. According to Daniel, “I felt like it was all my day because there were hardly any people” at the mall. He was extremely excited and became overwhelmed with the walking, so his stepfather got an electric scooter so he could “scoot” from store to store, which he did with glee.
The day went better than he could have ever imagined. “My favorite store was the Palace Locker Room because I got myself a Hamilton jersey #32 and a jogging suit of the Pistons!” Daniel even became an honorary “employee for the day” at Finish Line, where he got a personalized employee nametag and even picked up the new Jordan shoes he had been longing for. For lunch, Daniel ate at the famous Johnny Rockets where “my burger was as big as me!” As for the shopping, so many stores pitched in that Daniel and his family didn’t leave until the mall closed! Every store greeted Daniel with warm welcomes and they all made him “feel special.” He picked up everything on his wish list and then some: “I even got coats for my two sisters because I didn’t want them to feel left out…and I bought my stepdad some gloves”. Neiman Marcus even thanked Daniel’s mother by giving her a gift. Nothing could have pleased Daniel more.
When his big day was over, Daniel was quite tired, but he had to thank his Wish Coordinator and Kids Wish Network: “Thank you, Ms. Jill and Kids Wish Network, for making my dreams come true…I am the happiest kid in the house.” Daniel’s mother, Sheila, also had to chime in her thanks as well: “Thank you all for being a blessing for my son, Daniel. As a mother, it is a joy to see your child happy…his day was glorious.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Daniel’s wish extra special: Holiday Inn Express, rue21, Journeys, Tommy Hilfiger, Champs Sports, The Children’s Place, Journeys, Brooks Brothers, Finish Line, Palace Locker Room, Man Alive, Neiman Marcus, Nautica, Off 5th: Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet, Express, KB Toys, Johnny Rockets, Mrs. Fields Cookies, The Nike Factory Store, Ecko Unlimited, Carrollton Eagles, Flint Inner City Lions, Saginaw Club, American Legion Post 22 and Eagles #497.