11-year-old Riley loves to climb, play and explore the world around him. And because he cannot communicate verbally, movement is one of the best ways for Riley to express himself.
“When we learned Riley was eligible for a wish, we knew right away what would bring him the most happiness,” said his mom, Kristie. “He climbs every single thing in our house so he wished for a room where he could safely climb, play and have fun, while still accommodating his medical needs.”
Battling a very rare and life-threatening respiratory condition, Riley’s family says his wish is even more meaningful because they weren't sure if he would make it to this day.
“Riley is the only person in the world with his diagnosis so doctors haven’t always known what to expect,” said Kristie. “He’s had pneumonia more than 30 times and struggles with daily pain and procedures, yet he continues to be the biggest ray of light to all of us.”
“It’s a scary realization when you find out your child’s illness is serious enough to qualify for a wish, but we never saw that as a negative thing,” she continued. “This experience gave us a way to bring Riley’s favorite things to life, something we never could have done on our own.”
Filled with excitement, Riley’s family worked with his wish granters to develop a sensory room with features including monkey bars, a rock wall and a custom two-story climbing structure!
But Riley’s wish didn’t happen overnight.
It took many months of prepping, building and hard work to create the perfect space for Riley to climb, learn, grow and make everlasting memories.
“Each day, when Riley would see the progress of his room and discover new things, you could actually feel how happy he was,” said Kristie. “So many donors and volunteers contributed to make Riley’s wish possible and the designers really poured their heart into this project.”
“We truly appreciate everyone who helped, donated, participated, and dreamed with us and are so grateful and forever changed by the kindness of each and every person who helped make Riley’s wish come true.”
As soon as the work was finished, Riley’s family couldn’t wait to show everyone his brand new room.
“We had a big reveal party with our family and Riley was so excited his face was glowing!” she said.
Since the debut, Riley plays in his new room each day with his sister. It’s even helped make treatments a little more fun, now that he can relax in a bean bag chair or spend time in his favorite spot – the hammock swing.
“I am still without words to describe the immense joy I feel in my heart!” said Kristie. “I am a survivor of childhood cancer and I’ve always donated to Make-A-Wish even before I had kids, so I really want to emphasize how grateful I am for everything this organization does and has given to my son.”
“Riley now has a room many kids could only dream of and it’s a place he can enjoy every day, for many years to come,” she continued. “Thank you for giving my son a reason to smile.”