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Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy is thrilled to partner with A Special Wish Foundation Cleveland Chapter, a non-profit organization dedicated to granting the wishes of children across Northeastern Ohio who have been diagnosed with critical illnesses.
Every month through the NP4Kids program, we will be supporting the granting of a wish through A Special Wish Foundation Cleveland Chapter’s “When I Grow Up” program.
We want to inspire the children supported by A Special Wish Foundation to see a bright future. Through funding the NP4Kids When I Grow Up program we can encouraging these children to envision their dream job when they grow up. This can be anything the child can imagine, from a firefighter, to astronaut or a chef.
A Special Wish Foundation coordinates the grow up wishes with professionals in our community in careers across the spectrum to help the Wishers experience their dream job. Helping dreams come true is an inspiration, and we are proud to partner with A Special Wish on this exciting adventure.
Penny was always our smiley, talkative baby with contagious joy. However, after her second birthday, we started to notice heightened clumsiness, delayed milestones, and personality changes. She was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea with suspected inner ear issues. Leading up to her surgery we took her to urgent care and a pediatrician due to sporadic vomiting, headaches, and dizziness. We proceeded with her much needed tonsillectomy, but the surgeon found her ears to be pristine and had no explanation for her off-balance. For the next 10 days Penny’s symptoms heightened as well as our own personal suspicion of a brain tumor. On June 21, Penny had such alarming symptoms we rushed her to the ER and begged for a CT scan. It was quickly discovered Penny did in fact have a very large tumor in her cerebellum and massive fluid buildup surrounding her brain. She was transported to Cleveland Clinic where she received an 18-hour brain surgery. Our girl spent a month fighting in the hospital, and then transported to inpatient rehab where she recovered the use of the left side of her body and learned to walk again. Just 3 weeks post discharge, we left to adopt her little brother in India. Two years later, Penny still attends weekly therapy where she works on strength, coordination, and trusting her body again. She also endures routine MRIs and labs to check for any new tumor growth. Although the brain damage caused by the tumor may never reverse, Penny has continued to make miraculous progress and is even loving ballet class! Penny is now the proud big sister of two little brothers with medical needs and continues to encourage them to be brave and strong. She has the most compassionate heart and is always so inclusive in inviting people into her life. Penny is extremely creative whether it’s with arts and crafts or baking in the kitchen. She is always gifting her creations to people she loves or bringing family together with a sweet treat she helped make. Penny’s dream of becoming an ice cream maker couldn’t be more fitting for her creative spirit, compassionate heart, and sweet tooth!
Jordan, 4, was born with a rare congenital heart defect called Shone’s complex. Jordan underwent surgery for coarctation of the aorta when he was just 6 days old and spent a month at Cleveland clinic children’s hospital in the PICU. He then had another open-heart surgery at 8 months old to replace his aortic valve and has been thriving ever since. One of Jordan’s first public outings post-op was at lake farm parks, where there were a few excavators and other construction vehicles, since they were doing construction work there at the time. He has fallen in love with them ever since! In our back yard we have a special section blocked off with construction cones for him to excavate and dig with his vehicles and equipment. Going outside to excavate is his favorite part of the day! For Halloween, Jordan dressed up as an excavator operator because one day wants to own and operate excavators! Jordan cannot wait to grow up to become an excavator operator!
Maryn was born in March of 2013, looking surprisingly healthy for having been diagnosed in utero with rare congenital heart defects (Truncus Arteriosus, a VSD & an ASD). Maryn had her first open heart surgery at 9 days old, a couple of weeks later it was apparent that her heart was still not working as it should, forcing her second open heart surgery when she was 4 weeks old. Maryn’s second surgery seemed to be the key to getting home, but something still wasn’t right and she remained in the hospital. In the beginning of August 2013, Maryn was evaluated for a heart transplant, although it was determined she was not a candidate due to her 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome and her over 40 blood transfusions. Unfortunately, her health continued to deteriorate and on Thursday, August 29, 2013 our world came crashing down.
That day started out like any other day in the hospital but Maryn was sicker than she had been before, we knew that. She had an unexplained, incredibly high fever, high heart rate & was lethargic. Maryn’s medical team told us that there wasn’t much else they could do for Maryn and not to expect her to survive the weekend; if she did survive, and was healthy enough for surgery, her medical team gave her a 5-10% chance of surviving the double valve (aortic & pulmonary) replacement she needed. Miraculously, she pulled through and shocked everyone.
Today, Maryn is hilarious, stubborn, dramatic, brave, and loving. She has a way of getting those around her to do EXACTLY what she wants them to, a trait that we should have seen even when she was in utero! Maryn has loved doing 1st grade virtually and has been absolutely thriving. I can’t imagine what our life would be like without her, or all of the drama she’s brought to it.
One of Maryn’s all-time favorite things to do is to cook. Even though Maryn has problems eating due to swallowing difficulties and she has a g-tube, she still loves to cook. She doesn’t care if it’s in her play kitchen or our real kitchen, she loves taking people’s orders and trying her best to make what is requested – and taking the liberty to make replacements as she sees fit. Throughout Covid Maryn & her brother, Bram, have been taking virtual cooking classes and they both get so excited to plan, prep, and make the foods. Bram then loves to eat the foods they make while Maryn loves to share them with her family and neighbors.
Our June NP4Kids When I Grow Up child is Lucas! Lucas would like to become a zoologist!
“Lucas William Macalla was born October 20th, 2014, at Parma Hospital. At two days old, he was diagnosed with numerous congenital heart defects which were Coarctation (narrowing) of The Aorta, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Atrial Septal Defect, and Ventricular Septal Defect. He had open heart surgery at 8 days old at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The following week he had a permanent pacemaker placed and was diagnosed with congenital heart block. At 3 months old, he was diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynotosis and had Cranial Vault Repair surgery at 6 months old, April 2015. Lucas sees his Cardiologists every 6 months and every 3 he has a pacemaker “checkup” through the phone called a Transtelephonic. He sees a Craniofacial team annually. Lucas follows a behavioral specialist as well for possible ADHD and has a few physical and developmental delays due to his first year.
Given his lengthy medical history, Lucas is just like every other 6-year-old boy! Lucas’s interests are video games, nature, animals (especially penguins), LEGO’s, Mario, Minecraft, Pokémon, basketball, and hanging out with his 3-year-old sister Marleigh and 5-year-old dog named Lupe. He hopes to be a zoologist one day! Lucas graduates Kindergarten and starts 1st grade in the fall of 2021. He has blossomed into such a sweet, kind, and curious young boy and we are so blessed to have him!” – Lucas’s Parents
Our NP4Kids When I Grow Up child for May is Declan. He would like to become a Paleontologist. Declan is a 9-year-old 3rd grader whose obsession with dinosaurs started a few years ago. He has always loved animals, but when he found dinosaurs (through YouTube videos), that really sparked his interest. He wanted to know ALL the dinosaurs, and all about them: what their names mean, when they lived, what they ate. Declan was never really a fan of holidays and presents because he’s been in occupational therapy his entire life and viewed the process of opening presents as “work”. His dad and I now credit dinosaurs with showing Declan that presents are a good thing! The first Christmas he started getting Dinosaurs, he was in awe. Declan is nonverbal – he uses some ASL and a speaking device to communicate – we’ve had to program all the dinosaurs and what they mean so he can tell others. He’s also a whiz at YouTube and will show you a dinosaur in one video and go to another to tell you what it means. If you pronounce a name wrong, he will correct you and show you a video where it’s pronounced correctly. I honestly credit so much of Declan’s growth, interest in learning, communication skills, and openness for fun to dinosaurs. Whenever he’s asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he says a Paleontologist.
Our NP4Kids When I grow up child for March was Rosie! Rosie would like to become an Aquarist (and Shark trainer!).
Rosie grew up as a bright and normal kid. She could tell you anything you wanted to learn about the solar system, ocean animals, and especially her bearded dragon. She had the spirit and spunk of no one else. At 6 years old Rosie came down with a fever. We made sure that we were rotating Tylenol and Motrin and keeping her fever down. She pretty much slept for the next few days. On February 7th we were having a hard time waking Rosie. When Rosie got up, she was walking bowlegged and slurring her words. We immediately took her to the emergency room. By the time that we were in the waiting room Rosie was completely unconscious. Rosie stayed in the PICU in a coma for almost two weeks. The doctors confirmed Rosie had an episode of ANE (Acute Necrotizing Encephalopathy), which means Rosie had contracted a virus and a mutation in her genes made it attack her brain. After waking up, Rosie had a long journey in rehabilitation relearning how to eat, drink, walk, and talk. It was not easy, but Rosie has continued to recover and make amazing progress. Rosie is back in 1st grade and loving it! Rosie has always had a love for animals but especially sharks! When Rosie started to speak again in the rehab center, she was always going on about all her shark facts to anyone that would listen. She can’t wait to get older to work at an Aquarium and become a shark trainer.
Our February NP4Kids When I Grow Up child is Giovana! Giovana would like to become a chef!
Giovana is 4 years old and is from California originally. Sadly, Giovana was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when she was just 4 months old. In September of 2019, Giovana and her family left California to pursue out-of-state treatment and have been in Cleveland for the past 6 months. Giovana absolutely loves to help her mom cook. Her favorite things to cook are eggs and pasta. With the help of the Executive Chef at The 9, we planned to turn her and her siblings into chefs.
Our January NP4Kids When I Grow Up child is Olivia! Olivia would like to become a princess!
“When Olivia was 12 months old she was diagnosed with an incurable brain condition called hydrocephalus. At 13 months she underwent her first brain surgery and has been inspiring us all with her strength ever since. Olivia wants to be a princess because she loves being fancy. Every doctor appointment or therapy appointment involves Olivia wearing a princess dress and nothing makes her smile more than being referred to as princess Olivia” – Olivia’s mom, Karen
Our NP4Kids When I grow up child for November was Aryia! Aryia would like to become a model.
“When we found out we were pregnant with Aryia we didn’t know what was in store for us. She was born at 26 weeks and weighed 12.7 ounces, which came along with a lot of health issues, multiple surgeries, and more time in the hospital than at home. Aryia has always had a sassy and infectious personality that you can’t help but love. Having a child who is nonverbal, and wheelchair bound is beautiful, yet scary. We always joke Aryia was born to model and make it big. When the idea came to me about what Aryia would want to be when she grows up, it was without a doubt a model. She is always dressed to impress, and you won’t catch her without a bow in her hair and a sassy smile. She loves to go shopping, play dress up, and take pictures—she loves to be just a typical child for a moment.”
Thank you, Great Lakes Kids Apparel, for letting Aryia be a model for the day!
Henley is 5 years old and has Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the hypothalamus. Although there are many challenging characteristics of PWS, there are also many beautiful and wonderful traits as well. One of those being a sense of nurture. Henley has an incredible sense of compassion towards all living things. She wants to help and heal anything or anyone who has had a bad day, isn’t feeling well, or injured. It’s as if she has a sixth sense, especially with animals. No matter where we are or what we are doing she will always seek out an animal and take every chance to get as close as possible. Every dog in the neighborhood knows Henley and lives for her hugs and snuggles as they pass our house on their daily walks. The joy in her eyes when she is in the company of four legged friends is unmeasurable. She thrives off of the love, companionship, and connection she has with animals. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, her answer never changes, ‘a betterinarian’.
Thank you, Dr. Viskocil and staff at Bretton Ridge Animal Clinic, for letting Henley be a “betterinarian” for the day!
Our August NP4Kids When I grow up child is August! August would like to become a mermaid.
August is four years old and an avid swimmer. He is so full of energy and makes everyone around him smile. He wants to be a mermaid when he grows up, “because they’re cool.” Being a mermaid is something that he and his nurse practitioner, Liz, have in common. They bond over being a mermaid every time he has to have treatment.
Thank you, Geauga Family YMCA, for letting August be a mermaid for the day and teaching him some mermaid swimming skills!
Our July NP4Kids When I grow up child is Cece! Cece would like to become an artist.
Cece wants nothing more than to be a normal kid, she does everything in her power not to let cancer hold her back. She loves painting, cutting, coloring and all things crafts.
Cece was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 3. Due to the intense chemotherapy Cece had to undergo after diagnosis, she lived in isolation with her dad for eight months. During that eight months she became obsessed with painting and painted everything!
Thank you, Fairmount Center of the Arts, for letting Cece be an artist for the day and create some cool art with her own art show!
When Alex was asked why he wanted to be a dentist when he grows up, he simply said “I want to see everyone smile.”
Alex was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, and his chances were slim. But he never stopped smiling, and 13 months later, he got to ring the final bell of his treatment. Alex loves school and telling jokes to make others smile and laugh.
Thank you to Dr. Jennifer Snyder at Snyder and Winks Dental for letting Alex spend the day at her office and clean some teeth! Alex had the biggest smile at the end of his grown-up wish!