Make-A-Wish Idaho is celebrating a huge milestone, they’re granting their 1,500th wish.
Emerson Jaques is your average teenager. She’s a freshman at Idaho State University, loves hanging out with her friends and laughing with her family. However, she’s also living with cystic fibrosis. It’s a chronic lung disease that causes thick mucus to build up in her body, blocking airways and affecting her digestive system. She was in the hospital 13 times before her first birthday. Her most recent hospital stay in July lasted 11 days.
“You are trapped in this room,” Emerson said. “And when the doctors or nurses come in, they’re wearing their isolation gowns. So it’s like, you don’t see their face, really, you see the eyes. And it’s just like, okay. It seems really impersonal and so you just kind of feel isolated and alone and it kinda sucks.”
Emerson isn’t the only one in her family suffering from cystic fibrosis. Her older sister Morgan was also diagnosed at just four months old. Their parents were strict with them growing up, limiting them in some areas in order to maintain the girls health.
“You know, worrying, just about what is their life going to be like as they get older,” Kris Jaques, Emerson’s mom, said. “What are they going to be able to do, what are they not going to be able to do. I just think as a parent, as a mom especially, that’s been hard, that’s been hard to worry about.”
Both girls take up to 40 pills a day. They also have to do a treatment with a vest to loosen up the mucus twice a day. If they’re sick, they have to do that four times a day. While they make sure the girls stay healthy, Emerson’s parents still want them living a normal life.
“Well quality has to come in there too,” Kris said. “And you certainly always want to follow your medical advice, but you also want quality for your kids. And you want to see them have experiences that, you know, every kid wants to do.”
Emerson is Make-A-Wish Idaho’s 1,500th wish recipient. Her wish is to go to the Bahamas where the family can relax, reconnect and have fun together.
“And so the water is really clear there and that’s what I really like, is the clear water,” Emerson said. “And it’s warmer. And it’s just kind of different and fun.”
Make-A-Wish grants wishes to children with life threatening medical conditions.
“These children don’t ask for an illness,” Julie Thomas, Regional Manager for Make-A-Wish Idaho, said. “The families don’t ask for it. It’s taxing. You heard Emmy say that they’re in the hospital for 10, 11, 12 days at a time. Mom was saying that both girls were in the hospital at the same time. These families need a break. They need a break of reality. So it’s not a fix, it’s not a cure, it’s just a good break.”
Emerson’s mom is thankful for the chance for the family to relax and have fun, but also to see Emerson so happy.
“We’re beyond excited,” Kris said. “It’s been super fun to watch the excitement for Emmy. That has been a huge gift.”
Make-A-Wish Idaho will grant 93 wishes this year, the most in a one year period.
The family plans on snorkeling and deep sea fishing while on their vacation. This isn’t the family’s first time working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Morgan also got a wish. For her wish, they went to Turks and Caicos, an island south of the Bahamas.