CBS 42 is partnering with Make-A-Wish Alabama to grant life-changing wishes. There are approximately 200 children with critical illnesses in Alabama waiting on the life-changing power of a wish.
The Wishes Can’t Wait Telethon on December 12th was a great success! Thank you to all who donated. If you would still like to donate, please text “WISHES” to 243725. Your donations help children right here in Central Alabama.
Scroll through the stories below to see why Make-A-Wish Alabama is so important to our community.
Wishes Can’t Wait – Khari McCary’s Story – Make-A-Wish Alabama
Birmingham, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – Khari McCary was a vibrant healthy child for 12 years. She was a straight-A student and in the gifted program at school. Athletic too! She was involved in softball, track, cross country, and Girl Scouts.
In 2015, everything changed when Khari started having unexplained grand maul seizures. After hundreds of tests, doctors’ appointments, and sleepless nights, Khari was diagnosed with a rare genetic epilepsy disorder called Lafora.
“We found out she was the only case in Alabama. Our world was turned upside down,” said Khari’s mother, Moniqueca Barfield.
She said they went from what you might call a “normal life” to feeling as though she had an infant again.
“Giving your teenager a bath, medication, waking up in the middle of the night to make sure she’s OK, to take her to the restroom… dealing with seizures several times a day. All of that can be emotionally, mentally, and physically draining,” Barfield said.
While she was still able to write, Khari wrote out her dream wishes. A vacation to Hawaii was #1 on her list.
Make-A-Wish Alabama granted Khari’s wish and sent her family on a VIP vacation to Hawaii!
“VIP! That’s what we felt like! And Khari loved every moment of it. All of the accommodations that Make-A-Wish made was amazing. It was nothing that we could’ve done on our own,” said Barfield.
Make-A-Wish Alabama took care of every logistical detail. Barfield said everything was stress-free from the beginning to the end.
“We didn’t have to make any phone calls or any reservations. From the time we left here and got on the plane, everybody was so accommodating,” Barfield said. “And it was the best thing ever. She had a smile on her face the whole time!”
“It was something big for my family. It was something that we could’ve never done without Make-A-Wish. We just really appreciate everyone that donates to Make-A-Wish,” said Barfield. When Make-A-Wish Alabama grants wishes, they provide hope, renewed strength, bring families closer, and uniting entire communities. Wishes like Cari’s are waiting. To support Make-A-Wish Alabama, click here to give.
Wishes Can’t Wait – Thomas Bush’s Story – Make-A-Wish Alabama
(CBS 42 Living Local ) – As a 10-year-old boy, playing and interacting with friends was a top priority for Thomas Bush. At 11, his social life came to a halt when he was diagnosed with cancer.
“They said, ‘we think that it may be lymphoma.’ And your heart just sinks,” said mother Courtney Bush.
“When they said lymphoma, I didn’t know what that was. But when they said cancer, it kind of made my heart drop. Because I didn’t know what that meant,” said Thomas.
After his diagnosis, going to school and interacting with friends stopped. Thomas asked Make-A-Wish Alabama to outfit his room with a professional gaming system. This gaming system would allow him to live-chat and play games with his friends, even if he felt too sick to leave his room.
“It’s just a blessing and it’s amazing that they provided that for him. It made him forget about all that he’s been through and all he is still going through. And he gets to still be a little boy and interact with his friends and have fun,” Courtney.
“It just meant so much to me that they could actually do it because I know this wouldn’t be possible without them,” said Thomas.
“Some people say video gaming is bad. No not me. For kids like Thomas, it’s a godsend,” said Thomas’ father, Shane
“You can’t thank them enough. They worked tirelessly to try to accommodate every wish that they can think of. They will always have a special place in our hearts,” said Courtney. When Make-A-Wish Alabama grants wishes, they provide hope, renewed strength, bring families closer, and uniting entire communities. Wishes like Thomases are waiting. To support Make-A-Wish Alabama, click here to give.
Wishes Can’t Wait – Blakeney and Brynn Farr’s Story – Make-A-Wish Alabama
(CBS 42 Living Local) – Jessica and Jonathan Farr’s daughters are 15-months apart. Blakeney is 9, Brynn is 8, and both have vibrant personalities.
“Right now, unless you saw their scars, you might not know that there was anything wrong with them,” said Jonathan.
Both girls were born with serious congenital heart defects and have gone through multiple open-heart surgeries.
“There were times when Jessica and I didn’t really didn’t know if they would make it. We didn’t know that even if they did, what kind of quality of life they would have,” Jonathan said. “Now they are doing pretty well. That will probably change as they get older. They will both have to go through additional heart surgeries down the road.”
The Farr’s helped their daughters make wishes through Make-A-Wish Alabama. This summer, Brynn was granted her wish to visit Florida theme parks.
“There are a lot of perks to being a Make-A-Wish family at a Florida theme park,” Jonatha laughed. “We had a blast. We were completely worn out by the time we came home but Make-A-Wish took care of us in every way.”
Blakney’s wish is to visit the Bronx Zoo in New York. Her wish was recently granted in October 2019. The family will take their Bronx Zoo vacation during Spring Break, 2020.
“To see them be able to do things that they love, it makes us feel like every other parent. It just gives us that joy inside. The thing about Make-A-Wish is that you never expect to be sitting here where I’m sitting. You never know when it may be a family member, or a loved one, or just somebody you know down the street, who Make-A-Wish may be able to grant a wish for. Any way that you can donate, no matter how small, I think it would be very important,” Jonathan said. When Make-A-Wish Alabama grants wishes, they provide hope, renewed strength, bring families closer, and uniting entire communities. Wishes like Blakney’s and Brynn’s are waiting. To support Make-A-Wish Alabama, click here to give.
Wishes Can’t Wait – Cambrie and Brennen Tyson’s Story – Make-A-Wish Alabama
(CBS 42 Living Local ) – Cambrie and Brennen Tyson were both born with serious immunodeficiencies and undiagnosed genetic disorders. “Which means they haven’t quite put together why all these things have happened all at once,” said mother Kymberlie.
Parents Kymberlie and Adam Tyson say that having two sick children affects the family physically, emotionally, and financially.
“If you don’t live that life it’s really hard to understand what someone is going through. Like endless nights of being up tube feeding, vomiting, fevers, sickness, hospital appointments, and infusions. The list goes on and on,” Kymberlie said.
Make-A-Wish Alabama is working to make Cambrie and Brennen’s wishes come true. Cambrie is longing to visit a Florida theme park.
“I think it’s just an experience that she would never be able to have. To have the opportunity for her to have the accommodations that Make-A-Wish makes for these children, to be able to have all her dreams come true, and just have the red carpet rolled out for her … even with all her problems, and all the hard days in her life, and all the days she feels like she can’t get out of bed, the days she feels like she can’t go on, this one moment will help her to feel like she’s worth something,” Kymberlie said.
Brennen wishes to fly in a helicopter to Pearl Harbor with the United States Army.
“All he has ever wanted to be his whole life is a pilot and to fly. He loves everything military. He’s always been a big-time history buff ever since he was little,” said Kymberlie. “Having the medical conditions that he has, it’s going to limit the dreams he has as an adult. Especially for his chances of being in the military. So this dream will give him a chance to have just one day of that.”
“I think that there is nothing better in the world that you could possibly do than to give a child something so special and make them feel that they are worth something and mean something, just for one moment in their life,” Kymberlie said.
When Make-A-Wish Alabama grants wishes, they provide hope, renewed strength, bring families closer, and uniting entire communities. Wishes like Brennen’s and Cambrie’s can’t wait. To support Make-A-Wish Alabama, click here to give.
Wishes Can’t Wait – Shelton Waldrop’s Story – Make-A-Wish Alabama
Leeds, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – Shelton Waldrop was 14-years-old when diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. We sat down with his mother, Robby. She told us that while Shelton was sick, he was still full of energy and on the go.
“He never met a stranger. He always wanted to help anybody and everybody. He loved giving back and helping people,” said Robby.
Shelton was determined to stay positive during his cancer battle. His lifelong passion for public service, firefighting, and helping others, inspired his one, true wish; to meet the first responders from 9/11.
“I was actually pregnant was Shelton when 911 happened,” Robby said.
Make-A-Wish Alabama sent Shelton and his family on a Wish Trip to New York City where he was able to meet the 9-11 first responders.
“He was so excited! His energy was through the roof,” Robby said. “They picked us up in their fireman van and drove us to headquarters and we met the commissioner and they had a whole big ceremony for Shelton and it was very sweet. It impacted the rest of his life and the rest of our life.”
After his Wish Trip, Shelton stayed in touch with members of the New York Fire Department, and they continued to encourage and support one another on a weekly basis.
After a three year battle, at age 17, Shelton passed away in February 2019. His life and his wish forever changed the lives of all those who knew and loved him. Some of the first responders even attended his funeral.
“I 100% percent know in my heart that Shelton changed so many people’s lives in those three years of him being sick. We’ve made lifelong friends that have become part of our family because of the Wish Trip,” Robby said.
When Make-A-Wish Alabama grants wishes, they provide hope, renewed strength, bring families closer, and uniting entire communities.
“It is life-changing for the child and for the family,” Robby said. Wishes like Shelton’s are waiting. To support Make-A-Wish Alabama, click here to give.