CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- On a cold December day, siblings Lance Hamilton and Jahnesa Jones received warm holiday greetings that they have been waiting and hoping for ever since Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia informed the siblings that they were eligible for a wish from the foundation.
9-year-old Lance and 17-year-old Jahnesa were both born with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, the same critical heart condition that their mother has.
“It prevents us from doing more activities like cheerleading and football,” Lance said.
“Basically, our heart doesn’t pump correctly so we get shortness of breath and it’s really hard to just walk around too,” Jahnesa added.
While Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia normally has wish granters visit homes to deliver wishes, chapter President and CEO Sheri Lambert decided to deliver the good news in person, since this is the first time in recent memory that the chapter has been able to grant two wishes to siblings on the same day.
Lambert traveled to Colonial Heights with balloons and gifts to make the big announcement.
“What is your wish, Lance?” asked Lambert.
“My wish is to go to Disney World!” exclaimed Lance.
“How about you, Jahnesa?” asked Lambert.
“My wish is to go to Colorado skiing! I’ve never been skiing but it looks really interesting and fun!”
With a huge smile on her face, Lambert told the children that both their wishes were being granted by the foundation and that their families would be visiting Florida and Colorado during the months of January and February.
Lance said he can’t wait to see Captain America and swim, while Jahnesa says she’s looking forward to seeing Colorado and trying a sport that she’s never done before.
“We are so excited!” exclaimed Jahnesa. “I think Make-A-Wish shows you how you can go places and do things that you’ve never done before.”
A recently released 2022 Wish Impact Study shows what researchers, physicians and advocates have noted all along, that a wish not only emotionally impacts a child, but it broadly enhances the entire family’s quality of life by helping with coping skills, resilience and overall well-being.
The study included more than 3,000 wish kids, their families and members of the medical community. A large majority overwhelmingly agreed that the wish experience contributed substantially to physical, mental and emotional health.
“It gives kids the chance to keep up their strength and gives them something to look forward to, even on their most challenging days,” Lambert said. “That’s exactly what a wish provides, the dose of medicine that kids need; the hope.”
Lambert says seeing Lance and Jahnesa’s smile when they received their wish was heartwarming and proof that wishes have a huge impact, not only for the children but for their families.
“It’s a lifelong impact,” Lambert says.
With renewed hope, strength and confidence, Lance and Jahnesa say they’re embracing their future and are thrilled to share their wishes with their family, including their mother who recently had surgery for her heart condition.
“It’s really exciting,” Jahnesa says. “We’re really really grateful and we just can’t wait!”
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