Teen gets honored as ‘hero’ through Kids Wish Network

A teen from Amarillo, who suffered a traumatic brain injury while crossing the street to get his father a birthday card, is being awarded October’s Hero of the Month for The Children’s Hospital at NWTHS. The award is presented by national charity Kids Wish Network.

On Oct. 10, 2007, John was crossing the street to get his father a birthday card when he was hit by two cars. The accident left him almost completely paralyzed on his right side. It took away his hearing in his right ear, left him unable to walk and also took a heavy toll on his speaking abilities.

“The first car bumped him and the second car slammed him into the asphalt. He spent 29 days in the ICU at NW Texas,” said John’s father, John. “He was given a less than 5 percent chance to make it through the night.”

Although the odds were against him, John pulled through and is slowly making a recovery. With the help of music therapy, John is beginning to put words together. One night, his family was watching TV when John started singing along with the words to the opening song.

“Who Are You, by The Who is one of the first things he sang while watching the opening credits of CSI and that really started his talking again,” John’s dad said. “Music is everything to him. Even when he was in a coma we would put his iPod on him and let him listen to his music. Music is a great way for him to express himself and form his words because he is having trouble with his talking.”

John was nominated for Hero of the Month by his child life specialist, Becky. She said that the family was excited to be given such a great award.

“They were extremely excited. They thought it was very sweet and endearing to be able to recognize all he has done for his recovery,” she said.

Kids Wish Network works with facilities across the country to find children who otherwise would be missed. Heroes are children between the ages of 3 and 18 who do not have a life-threatening illness, but have experienced something traumatic or have gone through some tough times. Each facility nominates one child each month, and that child is given a medal of honor, a certificate, a Hero t-shirt and a gift card to Wal-Mart or Target valued between $200 and $500 depending on their age.

Becky said that her facility has been using the Hero of the Month program for about two years. She said the program is very helpful.

“I think it is a great way to give patients who wouldn’t get a wish a chance to boost their spirits and give them recognition,” she said. “I really think the program is probably one of the most beneficial wish organizations because it recognizes children without life threatening illnesses and gives them something to look forward to.”

John’s dad said that today, doctors are “flabbergasted” that John is alive and making a recovery.

“He is a miracle,” Becky said.

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. Aside from granting wishes, Kids Wish Network also has several other programs which benefit children’s care facilities. 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

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Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs.