William is a brown hair, blue-eyed boy affectionately referred to as “Warrior William” by his friends and family because of his courage and never-give-up attitude. Born with a neurological system disorder that impacts every single aspect of his life, William faces many daily challenges including breathing through a tracheostomy tube, difficultly to control seizures, and the inability to move independently. But despite these difficulties, his family has made it their mission for William to not just survive, but to genuinely live his best life. “Although this is not the life we anticipated, we decided early on we were going to choose joy and embrace the gifts we have been given,” said Justine, William’s mother.
William loves music, books, coloring and his French Bulldog. Although trips out of the house require a lot of accessories and planning, his family loves to take him out on adventures. Their family mantra is “Collect Memories Not Things,” and some of the memories they have collected include trips to the zoo, baseball games, birthday parties, and pony rides. Because it is too challenging to carry him and his ventilator to his 2nd floor nursery, for the past year, William has had to stay in the family living room.
William’s wish to have a big boy room was granted this past December, not only fulfilling his one true wish, but also making room for their Christmas tree and decorations in time for the holidays - something that hadn't been a reality in the past.
Upon hearing his story, a handful of supporters and companies rallied behind William and his wish including IKEA, which helped design the perfect closet with the space available, bedding donated by Pottery Barn, donated doors by Doors 4 Home, Accurate Electric donating the time to install the light fixture, discounted furniture from Ashley Furniture Home Store, and a local interior designer and contractor.
After much anticipation, the wish day arrived. William’s family and friends, along with his Make-A-Wish volunteer wish granters, gathered at the family’s home to greet them for the big reveal. The family had been offsite for the two days leading up to the reveal. After the family arrived, the tarp covering the doors were removed and the doors opened, a symbol of opening a new door to hope for the family. “We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity. Our hope with William’s wish is he can feel how loved and special he is every single sunset and sunrise in his new room.”
When you found out William’s wish was coming true, what was going through your mind?
We were completely overjoyed to hear William was going to be granted a wish! To be honest, we never thought he would be able to be granted a wish because we did not think he live to be 2.5 years old and eligible. It was huge milestone for William to even be considered for a wish! When we learned William’s wish for a “big boy” room was going to be granted, we felt such a sense joy for him knowing he would be moving out of the corner of the living room into his own room again.
What was it like to live out the wish experience and watch it all unfold?
We couldn't believe how quickly everything thing came together and how incredible Ashley was to work with. Every detail we mentioned was included in his wish without hesitation. She made it seem like anything thing was possible. Additionally, Ashley incorporated so many extra surprises and personalized touches. We were shocked to see a beautiful new Christmas tree set up in place of his crib in the living room, pictures of our family in beautiful frames in his room, and personalized wall decorations.
Can you pinpoint your absolute favorite moment from William’s wish experience?
Our absolute favorite moment was William's wish reveal day. It was so special to have our families present to witness William's wish come true. I get teary-eyed thinking about the first moment we saw his room. It totally stunned us with its beauty, character, and personalization. It was better than I could have ever imagined. My expectations were blown away! William’s reveal was 10 days before Christmas and it certainly felt a Christmas miracle.
Can you speak to the community of people it took to make William’s wish possible?
There were so many incredible volunteers and community members who donated to William's room. I was a part of some planning and shopping and was completely humbled by the generosity of businesses and volunteers who were eager to donate their time and materials to make William's wish come true. We were fortunate to experience seeing so much good in humanity as his wish unfolded.
What impact has William’s wish had on your family? Why do you think wishes matter?
William's wish has made his life 100x better already. We are so grateful for his wish that keeps giving every single day. From night one in his new room, he has slept so well. This is not something we have experienced the last year and a half. If fact, we had been talking to his physicians about introducing sleep medication to help him sleep. It is remarkable how much of a difference having his own quiet space out of the living room and in a comfortable bed has improved his quality of sleep.