Like most 3-year-old boys, Oakley loves to play. But his sensitivity to heat and instability on his feet due to his neurological condition meant that his family needed to look beyond local parks to help Oakley have fun outdoors. They worry that he could be injured on playground equipment or the rough ground below.
That’s why, when he learned he was eligible for a wish from Make-A-Wish Wyoming®, Oakley wished for a soft playset to be built right in his own garage. The playset, which was assembled by local volunteers, is the perfect place for Oakley to climb and slide to his heart’s content. It also honors his fascination with firefighters.
That interest, too, was part of his wish experience. Before Oakley ever saw his new playset, he and his family were invited to the Campbell County Fire Department’s Station 1 for a tour of the firehouse and a ride on a ladder truck. The truck delivered Oakley right to his own home, where Make-A-Wish Wyoming supporters were waiting to surprise him with the playset.
Oakley’s new playset gave him a sense of normalcy and a safe place to play. It also provided peace of mind for his family. That’s the driving idea behind the Make-A-Wish experience: to provide a positive boost to children facing critical illnesses and to help bring families and communities together. Research suggests that wish experiences can bring hope, strength and joy to everyone involved. In this case, watching Oakley have fun with his new playset for the first time was certainly rewarding for his family and the local volunteers.
“He needs something that he can enjoy,” said Oakley’s mother, Phebie. “It’s hard for him to play with toys and other things because of his fine motor problems, so for him to have something to enjoy that’s special for him, we’re very, very thankful.”