It’s a common misconception that wishes are only for children with terminal illnesses. That’s what wish mom Vivian believed, but soon she’d learn Make-A-Wish® wasn’t the end, but rather a new beginning.
Edward was just two days old when his parents learned he had a blood disorder. “Everything we ever knew about sickle cell was doom and gloom. It was a traumatic event for us,” Vivian said. “I was almost 40-years-old and my first and only child being sick his whole life… it was traumatic.”
But Edward went on to defy many of the odds despite that diagnosis from the second day of his life. He missed a lot of school because of his illness, but nonetheless excelled in his classwork. “He always tried to catch up. He didn’t want any special attention and tried to make it to class on time,” said Vivian.
In between his classwork and hobbies, Edward continued to make frequent visits to Arkansas Children’s from his home in Star City. He became a regular there- led by the same team of doctors and nurses from childhood through high school. As you can imagine, the team grew to be like an extension of his family.
From a young age, Edward took a special interest in medicine. As a child he would put his own medicine in the pill case, and knew which pills to take on certain days. But it was during high school that Edward decided he wanted to study pediatric nursing after graduation, a decision that coincided with him considering a wish from Make-A-Wish.
“He feels like if he could be in the pediatric nursing arena, he could talk with other kids about the challenges of having a sickness,” said Vivian. “He wants to share what he has been through and help mentor children in the hospital.”
It was decided. Edward was going to study nursing, and he asked Make-A-Wish Mid-South to help make that dream a reality.
Then, the packages started to pour in. A laptop. Pens, pencils, notebooks and clipboards. Nursing school supplies. Sticky notes and a new backpack. The gifts were a mystery until Edward opened up a package sharing that Make-A-Wish Mid-South was sending him to nursing school.
“He never dreamed he would get the chance to have a wish,” exclaimed Vivian. “But a complete stranger saying, ‘We want to do something special for you...’ It was really incredible.”
Edward has lived against the odds through so much of his life, so starting nursing school during a pandemic doesn’t hardly come as a surprise to the family. In fact, what at first Vivian thought meant the end, has turned the page of a whole new chapter. “I thought Make-A-Wish meant the end, but really it was a whole new beginning.”