Some children choose to go to faraway places or visit magical lands for their wish come true. But for 7-year-old Keith, it was more important that his wish create something extraordinary within his own home.
Keith, who was diagnosed with a seizure disorder when he was born, undergoes several treatments each day to help with his breathing and is limited to spending most of his time indoors and confined to his wheelchair.
“He cannot go outside because of his medication, so it’s all about providing the best quality of life for Keith in the places we can go,” said his mom, Georgina. “When Keith’s neurologist mentioned Make-A-Wish Arizona, we talked about creating a special place just for him.”
So, what kinds of things would Keith wish to have in his new room? This was somewhat of a challenge because Keith is non-verbal, but luckily his mom understands the things in life that make him truly happy.
“Keith does not talk, and instead uses his facial expressions and senses to let people know how he is feeling,” Georgina continued. “One place Keith really expresses himself is the sensory room at Ryan House. He loves being there and always smiles when he is surrounded by the different lights and sounds.”
With this in mind, Keith’s family and his wish granters began working to transform his room into a sensory space that would be tailored to his specific needs.
“We were involved with the planning, but our volunteers were so great and they did all of the work,” said Georgina. “Once they had all of the materials, they completed Keith’s entire room in just one day!”
Plus, it wasn’t just a special day for Keith. Georgina invited many of their family members and friends into town so they too could be a part of the big reveal.
“Keith saw all the people in the house so he definitely knew something was going on,” said Georgina. “We tried to keep him away from the renovation all day so we could keep it a surprise.”
And everyone’s hard work certainly paid off. When it was time to reveal the room, Keith’s reaction was priceless.
“We opened the door and I saw a huge change in my son,” she said. “Keith’s face lit up and he became so truly happy. It means so much to me that Keith’s wish is not just something that lasts a few days, but will continue to better my son’s quality of life for a long time.”
Keith’s new room is now complete with a swing, comfy chair, and bubble lamps, plus special motion, sensory and lighting features.
“The vibrating planks on the wall are definitely his favorite,” said Georgina. “It is both a stimulating place to keep him active and a safe place for him to relax and perform his treatments.”
Since Keith’s wish, Georgina has noticed such a difference before and after his new space.
“Keith is much more relaxed now and able to do his treatments in the comfort of his own room,” she said. “His therapist loves it and it’s not just a sensory room; it’s also a therapy room.”
“This has been a tremendous experience that brought our family together and I am so grateful to Make-A-Wish Arizona for changing my son’s life.”