Hi! I’m Tonya, and I am a Wish Coordinator. I started out at Kids Wish Network in our Programs Department (read more about our other programs here) and now am very fortunate to be a part of the Wish Department. I play an active part in helping grant the wishes for truly special children. It brings me so much happiness to give children, already dealing with so much in their young lives, something to look forward to and remember always.
I truly love what I do, and how could I not? I spend my day looking for ways to bring joy into the lives of children.
Now, I would like to tell everyone about Evan.
Evan is the first Wish Kid for whom I have had the honor and privilege of planning a Wish experience. He is a spirited 4-year-old who is into dinosaurs, trains, and Buzz Lightyear. His favorite restaurant is Buffalo Wild Wings, and he is also exceptionally fond of sandwiches.
At a little over 2 years of age, Evan started to show signs of extreme thirst and fatigue. He was immediately taken to the emergency room and then admitted to a children’s hospital where he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Since Evan’s diagnosis, he has been in and out of the hospital. At first, he was receiving 4-5 insulin shots a day. Now, Evan wears a pump that delivers insulin whenever needed. However, even with the pump, Evan is still considered a brittle diabetic and frequently experiences large swings in blood sugar (glucose) levels.To assist Evan with this life-threatening condition, the family adopted a Diabetic Alert dog named Chewy – whom Evan adores.
For his wish, Evan said “I want to go to Disney and dance with Buzz Lightyear!”
With his story in mind, I made it my mission to fit as many special things into Evan’s trip as I possibly could. I worked with a phenomenal restaurant called “T-Rex, A Prehistoric Family Adventure”, where he could have dinner and be surrounded by dinosaurs. And, of course I had to make sure he had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.
After Evan’s wish, I got an email from his mom that made my heart smile. There was a picture of Evan dancing with Buzz Lightyear!
There he was; doing the exact thing he wanted. No words can fully express how wonderful that felt. It means so much to me to see Evan happy and smiling and for his parents to take time to share the photo with me.
Evan, you are an amazing little man! I cannot tell you how happy I am that you got to hang with Buzz Lightyear! That’s SO awesome! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your wish come true.
As I work on planning wishes for more wonderful children, I often keep my own 10-year-old daughter on my mind. I put myself in the place of the Wish Kid parents as much as I can, and I treat their children the way I would want my own daughter treated. I want all of our Wish Kid parents to know that their child is very important to all of us at Kids Wish Network. They are the reason we do what we do, and they are the reason that we love what we do.
-Tonya, KWN Wish Coordinator