OREGONIA, Ohio – A girl with a life-threatening illness has her wish to meet Ty Pennington granted by national children’s charity Kids Wish Network and generous sponsors.
When Caitlin was just five and a half months old, she suffered her first seizure. She was taken to the hospital and was misdiagnosed. When she was seven, her doctors finally discovered that she was suffering from muscular dystrophy, a degenerative group of disorders that affect the functionality of different muscle groups. Every time she has a seizure, she loses more of her abilities.
At the age of 10, Caitlin lost the ability to control her head. She has had two surgeries on her trachea and she is dependent on a ventilator to breathe. Because of her condition, she needs 24 hour care. In addition, Caitlin also has a curvature of the spine called scoliosis for which she has had a surgery to fuse portions of her spine. All in all, Caitlin has endured at least 15 surgeries in her life so far and yet still remains a happy and fun-loving teen.
Caitlin loves to watch TV and one of her favorite shows is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, mostly because of its lively, animated host, Ty Pennington. So, when given the chance to wish for anything she wanted, it came as no surprise when Caitlin indicated that she wanted to meet the famous TV host.
This chance to wish came about when a professional fundraiser for national children’s charity Kids Wish Network called Caitlin’s mother, Susan. The caller explained about the wishes that Kids Wish grants to children and teens with life-threatening illnesses and Susan explained her daughter’s situation. After some paperwork, Caitlin’s wish was well on its way to being granted.
“It was an amazing trip,” said Susan of her daughter’s wish. “Caitlin was smiling the whole time.”
Caitlin’s wish took place at the Washington Home & Garden Show in D.C., where Ty Pennington would give a few presentations. In addition to the meet-and-greet with Ty Pennington, Caitlin and her family were also treated to accommodations at the Mayflower Renaissance, dinners every evening, a tour of the city and a trip to an IMAX theater for a show.
Although there were plenty of things to enjoy on her wish, Caitlin’s favorite part was most definitely meeting Ty Pennington.
“She was just in awe when she saw him,” said Susan. “When he kissed her on the cheek, her mouth just dropped open in surprise. She was loving it.”
Ty Pennington spent some time hanging out with Caitlin and presented her with a huge canvas print to take home and decorate her bedroom as well as a $500 gift card for Sears. In return, Caitlin gave Ty a cute stuffed bear and a picture of herself, which he loved. Caitlin could hardly stop smiling.
During their last day in D.C., Caitlin and her family were treated like VIPs with a private bus tour – with the bus all to themselves – and an IMAX show. For Caitlin, the fun was nonstop; in fact, it hasn’t stopped since she’s returned home. According to Susan, Caitlin took all her souvenirs from her wish trip to school and she made sure that everyone saw so that they could share in her wish.
“This has been a big year for her,” said Susan. “To see the enjoyment on her face means so much. We can’t thank you enough for what you did for Caitlin.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Caitlin’s wish extra special: Ty Pennington; Woodmen of the World; American Legion – Waynesville; FOE #1224; Ghent Manufacturing; Triangle Credit Union; FOE – Springboro; Moose Lodge – Loveland; American Legion #256; FOE – Lebanon #1395; Sharefax Credit Union; American Legion #138; The Mayflower Renaissance; Georgia Brown’s; Red Top Cab; Apria Healthcare; Daily Grill; and Martz Group.
Kids Wish Network is a national 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. Every child deserves a chance at happiness; a wish is just a way of bringing them that joy. If you would like to sponsor a child’s wish or if you know a child who is suffering from a life-threatening illness and may be in need of Kids Wish Network’s 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