We first became aware of Dee's cleft lip prior to his birth, but when he was born with a completely missing palette (roof of mouth), Down Syndrome and a heart condition, it caught us by surprise. It took most of that first year just to slowly syringe enough milk into his mouth so he could grow.
"Now 16-years-old, his heart is doing well but we still have so many hurdles. We were thrilled when Make-A-Wish Mid-South was able to grant his wish of performing in a luau. I know Dee’s wish to be a hula dancer was a little different, but he spends a lot of time listening to and watching videos. Luaus have always been one of his favorites - the drums, the dancing, the poi balls, dancers with their tongues stuck out- all practiced over and over again.
The wish trip to Hawaii was everything we could have dreamed of and more. Our hotel had a beautiful view, we went snorkeling and scuba diving, and swam with Dolphins! The night of the luau, the company and cast included Dee in all the backstage activities. They gave him a fake tattoo, a costume, and even taught him to dance so he could be part of the show.
Seeing Dee dance on the stage- his wish coming true- brought an indescribable amount of joy to him and to me as his mother. There are not many times in his life that Dee gets to be the center of attention, but he really got his chance to shine on this trip. Dee danced his heart out.
His wish gave our family rest and rejuvenation. We bonded over so many of the incredible activities and will certainly cherish these memories forever. I am so thankful to Make-A-Wish, the volunteers, sponsor and the whole community for turning his wish into a reality!"
~Janna Crowe, wish mom