For 7-year-old Lilly, having a safe place to play is more than anchoring the heavy furniture to the wall.
Born with athetoid cerebral palsy, Lilly has little control over her muscles but she does prefer to be out and about, hopping around on her knees, as opposed to spending time in her wheelchair or bed.
“Lilly loves to be moving around but she is not very solid and falls a lot,” said her mom, Emily. “In talking with her wish granters about the many options for a wish, Lilly really seemed to respond well when we talked about creating a fun room for her to play in by herself.”
Lilly’s volunteer wish granters and wish manager worked with Lilly’s therapists and doctors to find out which sensory toys would be the biggest benefit for Lilly and also worked with mom to make sure the room was cute and fun.
“Lilly can really only see in black and red so they came up with a ladybug theme and it is perfect,” said Emily. “And now that the room is finished, we see such a difference in Lilly’s moods. She is having many more good days than bad now.”
Lilly’s room includes padding on the walls and flooring that make it safe for her to be in there by herself. In addition, Make-A-Wish Arizona added a therapy swing, therapy balls and some additional equipment so even when she is playing, she is benefiting from her time in her room. The team also added cameras so Emily can always see what is going on.
“Ever since her wish, she has been a little different,” said Emily. “She loves to play on the floor and it gives her such independence. Even her therapists have remarked that the room has made a big difference.”
Nathan, Lilly’s dad, is excited to see what this wish can do beyond this first month.
“I think it is incredible to know that Lilly’s wish, this room, will change her life for years to come,” said Nathan. “It is encouraging to know that Make-A-Wish wanted to help my daughter have something that would not only be a good time now, but will make her entire life better.”
“Having this space, a room dedicated to her and her favorite things, has given Lilly a better qualify of life,” Emily said in agreement. “Plus, they made sure it was a cute, girl’s room – not just something that would be for therapy.
“This space has given Lilly a sense of freedom for the first time in her life. We couldn’t be more excited to see how it helps her in the years to come.”