Grant was born a happy, healthy baby, but at 11 months old things took a turn. One morning his mom, Jessica, noticed he had a rash covering his entire body and a slight fever. She assumed he was having an allergic reaction and gave him the appropriate medications. His temperature continued to increase, and things became worse very quickly. They were admitted into Texas Children’s Hospital that same night, where they spent the next two and a half years. The doctors sat Jessica down in a conference room and told her Grant had a 2% chance of survival. Grant was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called HLH and another called XLP. By the age of 3, he had received almost a year of chemotherapy, followed by a bone marrow transplant.
“As a parent, it was devastating to get Grant’s diagnosis. My brother had passed away from the same disorder, so it was horrifying to know your child could face the same outcome. His disease was aggressive and not easy to maintain. Watching him struggle day in and day out was the hardest thing I have ever faced. Over the years Grant has had complications from the side effects of all he has been through. I remember a time he wanted to play football, and I said no and was against it because we were having problems with his bones being so brittle. At his one-year check-up, his doctors and I tried to reason with him and explain to him why it just wasn’t possible. He looked at all of us and said, “I understand what you are saying, but if you aren’t going to let me live, then why didn’t you just let me die.”
When Make-A-Wish met with Grant, his wish was to go to Disney World. Jessica recalled, “Grant was small, and he loved Mickey Mouse. It seemed like such a generic wish, however it really was the most magical time. We wanted to just spend a week together as a family. No doctors, no stress, just smiles and a world where things were great and not so stressful. Our wish was fulfilled perfectly. Our wish was a time of happiness and togetherness. It was wonderful to know people cared so much and understood it was important to make that time for us. We are still humbled by it so many years later. The Give Kids The World village was Grant’s favorite part. He loved the ‘talking tree’. He would get up every day and go tell it good morning. Everyone there was so warm and kind.”
As a 14 year-old, the impact of Grant’s wish has been lasting--years later the family still look back on the wish. “The wish left such a lasting memory on us. During a time of such pain and sorrow it brought happiness to us. We will forever cherish and be grateful for it. Our wish coordinator spent so much time preparing our going away party, the limo and all the details. She really made everything so perfect. Even if our outcome had not gone well, we would have had a special time to remember. Thank you so much Make-A-Wish.”