Ten days old. That’s how little I was when I had my very first surgery. But my first surgery didn’t give me the scar on my chest, but the one on my back. When I was born the doctors found that my aorta was very narrow, so they went in and widened it. But that, unfortunately, wasn’t the only problem the doctors found. They also saw that my bicuspid, or mitral valve, was not in great shape. Being only ten days old the doctors said I was too small to perform surgery on. So I waited for ten months, going into and out of the hospital, being poked and prodded with IVs, until finally ten months later the doctors performed open heart surgery.
I’ve had this scar for 17 years now, and when I was younger I would always sit and think “I’m the only kid in the world who has a heart problem, who feels like this. What’s the use of my scar? Nothing good is ever going to come out of this.” But Make-A-Wish changed all that for me.
All my dreams had started to come true even before I left the house. When I woke up that morning there was already a limo waiting to take me to the airport. I was a ten year old on my way to Disney World!
The trip was amazing and unforgettable. As soon as I walked into Give Kids the World Village I had stepped into a truly extraordinary new world. There were so many things to do and every time we came home from somewhere there were always new things on the table, reminding me someone cared. For that one week I was a carefree ten year old. I got to meet so many of my favorite Disney characters, like Flick, Lilo and Stitch, Mickey Mouse and the whole gang, and even more. I do have to say, that me and my sister both really enjoyed the good night visit we got from Mayor Clayton. He made us laugh a lot when he came.
Unfortunately, while we were in Florida, we got to experience Hurricane Charley and see the damage it caused. We were one of the fortunate people to have nothing but a mere branch fall on our roof, and not have damage our car. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and Give Kids the World Village had already transferred us to another hotel.
Disney World was a trip I will always remember for the rest of my life. But what I will never forget is the people who made it happen.
I have since had my second and last open heart surgery, in August of 2009, to replace my baby mitral valve with an adult one. But now I don’t look at my scar as a pest, but as a symbol. A symbol of what myself and many other kids have gone through. Most, with worse problems than I have.
Thank you Make-A-Wish for not only helping me see my scar as a sign of courage, but for also for giving me the best experience of my life. Thank you for putting in so much time and effort to make sure my wish was magical and unforgettable. You have truly changed my life.