Letter from Deric

Dear Wish family,

Welcome to the family of a Wish with Wings!

Since the day you heard the words “Your child is sick,” you have been living your worst nightmare for the past several months or quite possibly years. The perseverance and strength you have witnessed in your child has left you awestruck. The challenges you have faced have quite possibly left you emotionally, physically and, at times, financially drained. You are not alone.

Welcome to a Wish with Wings, a truly magical family. Since its creation, a Wish with Wings has been a part of thousands of families’ lives. Notice I did not say, granted thousands of wishes. Yes, each family has received a once-in-a-lifetime wish experience. But the true magic of a Wish with Wings spans far above and beyond the wish; consider the wish an awesome orientation into a club. A club whose members have walked a similar path, where wish staff members love you like family, and generous donors give time and money straight from the heart to make this club possible.

How do I know? You see, I am a wish dad – in year five of my club membership. In the fall of 2010, I also heard those awful words, “your daughter is sick.” I have also lived through the confusion and anger of “why me.” I have found the “family” of a Wish with Wings to be a guide through lows, and a family to share the highs in the roller coaster of the new life we are living.

When the idea of a wish trip was brought to me, I was reluctant. Like many, I was under the impression that these wishes were only for the terminal. I also felt guilty. Being able to afford a trip, I did not feel comfortable taking one from someone else. But taking this trip and joining this club is one of the most memorable events in my life. I hope it will be one of yours, too.

The family of members, staff and donors of a Wish with Wings, is just that … a family. We share a common bond that knows no social or economic boundaries. We have events where the kids can play, just play. Easter egg hunts, Texas Rangers games, trips to the circus, a HUGE Christmas party that could make an army of elves jealous, and many other events. There is also a beautiful new home we all share – The Michelle Porche Hancock Wish House – which is always open to your family. Stop by anytime!

I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors of a Wish with Wings. This allows me to gain a behind-the-scenes perspective of the club that’s so dear to me. What I have seen is this: There are 25 board members who care because they want to, with no obligation and no compensation. They believe so strongly about the mission of this organization and want nothing more than to know it will continue for years to come. This opportunity also allows me to offer the perspective of a wish parent to our mission and share my experience with you.

I invite you to our club. We only invite the bravest and most special kids to join, and we allow them to bring their entire family. The term “Congratulations!” may sound odd in this instance, but I do congratulate you. Because the determination, faith and pure strength it takes to be in our club is not found in many. Involve yourself in our events; they are really fun. Share the word of a Wish with Wings. But most importantly, enjoy yourself. You and your child have earned it.

Deric Gardner
2011 Wish Parent Alumni
a Wish with Wings Board Member