Like most middle school teenagers, Riley was looking forward to joining the football team. He was excited and ready to start the next chapter and play middle school football. When he went for his sports physical, his mom informed the pediatrician that there was a history of heart disease that ran in his family. Not taking a chance, the Doctor ordered an echo. The results of the echo were not good, Riley was diagnosed with a cardiac condition. Riley would not play Football for his school. He had to have an ICD defibrillator inserted in his chest to help regulate his heart beats.
Since Riley is a big kid, who is regularly reminded that he would be great at Football, he gets depressed. When the medical professionals referred Riley to Make-A-Wish, Liz was scared. She was upset that Riley had the option of receiving a wish, she said, “In the end, it wasn’t about me, or how I felt, Riley deserved to have a wish granted.” When the wish granters visited with Riley, he knew precisely what his wish would be; he wanted to go to Hawaii.
This summer Riley and his family received the trip of a lifetime. “We had a chance to be a normal family unit and forget about our daily struggles and the what-ifs that hang over our heads each day. It was wonderful to see Riley carefree again. It’s these memories that gave us a chance to find ourselves again and remind us that we have a life outside of Riley’s illness,” said Liz.