“In our family, having a handicap is what’s normal,” said their mother, Anna. “My daughter Kalicia is the only one out of our four children who wasn’t born with the genetic condition, so she’s actually the one who is considered different. She is my right hand around the house and she does so much for her siblings that can go unnoticed.”
Each day, Kalicia helps her siblings with tasks many people may take for granted, like brushing their teeth and getting dressed in the morning.
“The kids often spend more than 10 hours each week seeing multiple doctors for their physical, occupational and speech therapy, and their condition is degenerative and will continue to affect their development for the rest of their lives,” said Anna.
“Everything is harder for them and other people may see them differently, but they are normal to me,” said Kalicia. “They are my brothers and sisters and I love them.”
When Anna learned her three children – Charlotte, Harrison and Caroline – would each be eligible to receive a wish, she was thrilled.
“I was in shock when I got the call and Make-A-Wish Arizona said they wanted to not only grant our family a wish but a wish for each of our kids,” said Anna. “I’m not always able to give Kalicia as much attention as her other siblings, and when we first met our wish granters, they even had a special gift just for her. That meant so much that Kalicia could be included in her siblings’ wish experiences, too.”
First, Charlotte’s wish to go on a Disney Cruise Line cruise was a fantastic adventure for her whole family.
“It gave all of us a break from our world of doctors and medical appointments, but it was so much more than that,” said Anna. “Charlotte branched out of her comfort zone and met new friends on the ship and, after her wish, that is what inspired her to start a unified basketball team that includes people with disabilities.”
Harrison’s wish to have a Star Wars themed bedroom allowed him to move into a room on his own for the first time.
“His room is his safe-haven. It’s become a place where we can watch movies and enjoy time together as a family,” said Anna. “Harrison is our youngest and he used to sleep in my room before, but his room has become a place where he’s wanted to go to be independent. When he is in there, he isn’t Harrison with the genetic disorder, he is Harrison the Jedi Knight.”
Caroline’s wish, to have a race track in her backyard, is something her family will be able to enjoy for many years in the future.
“She loves to go fast when we push her in the grocery cart and her wheelchair and she wants to be a race car driver when she grows up,” said Anna. “It can be difficult for Caroline to make friends because she isn’t always mobile enough to travel to other peoples’ houses and that can be hard for her. Now, her friends can come to her and she can race all of us right here in our backyard.”
“I have seen so many changes in my kids since they found out their wishes were going to be granted,” she continued. “Looking forward to their wishes is what helped them through the hard days and made them more independent, and each wish has had such a positive impact on our family.”
While all their wishes are unique, Anna sees that they each share one common thread.
“I think it’s amazing that all their wishes were so different and personalized to their one true wish, but what my children most wish for themselves in life is the chance to be like other kids,” she continued. “Instead of separating us, which is what happens a lot in the world, Make-A-Wish Arizona brought us together. They helped to unify our family which is what I strive to do all the time.”