Three-year-old RJ’s nickname is the tortoise. The moniker comes from his favorite story: “the Tortoise and the Hare.” RJ loves to read the fable all the time, and his family says that he is just like the steady, determined tortoise in the story. Just before his second birthday, RJ had a liver transplant, and he continues to deal with the side effects of his condition. Despite all of this, he has grit. Like the tortoise, RJ continues to trudge on.
Because of RJ’s condition, he needs to have medical equipment in his room. As the supplies piled up, RJ’s room began to look more like a hospital than a fun place where he could relax. When RJ learned that Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic would be granting his one true wish, he wished to have a room re-do so that his room could become his own space where he could be a kid.
RJ chose a safari theme for his room re-do, and he was so excited when he finally had his wish reveal and was able to see the room in person. He especially loves the hand-painted murals on the walls. RJ bounced with joy on his “big boy” bed and signed “thank you” over and over again to his Make-A-Wish volunteers as he took in his room’s makeover.
The wish not only transformed the appearance of RJ’s room, but it also transformed RJ’s entire life. RJ now has a place where he can relax and have fun. His room is like a haven – a space where he can feel safe. Wishes like RJ’s are important because they give children with critical illnesses the chance to have fun and just be kids.