One day Quinnlin’s mom added up how many specialists she and her brother have seen as a result of their multiple special needs. It might surprise you to know that they have seen…
- 7 pediatric nephrologists, 2 hepatologists, 10 pediatricians, several physician assistants and 6 surgeons
- 20 speech, physical, occupational and vision therapists
- 1 orthopedist
- 1 urologist
- 100 nurses (at least), lab technicians and nurse assistants
- 1 child life specialist, 1 nutritionist
- 8 transplant nurses/coordinators
- 2 psychiatrists, 2 play therapists
- 2 dermatologists
- 1 insurance policy, 2 secondary insurance policies and 5 case managers
- 5 pharmacies
- 2 social workers
However, on a recent Saturday, Quinnlin was able to take a break from all of those appointments and go to the Friends Reunion at Build-A-Bear Workshop. She brought Champerina and her new friend, (Florida) Sonny. Quinnlin’s other BFF, Lilly, was joining her on this day and she’d never been to a Build-A-Bear Workshop store.
“What? You’ve NEVER been to build your own bear? I can’t believe it. Well, you will love it,” Quinnlin said confidently. So we took off early on a Saturday. “You get to kiss a heart and make a wish before you put the heart in the bear. You’re gonna love that part,” Quinnlin whispered to Lilly in the back seat.
The girls selected matching Peace & Heart Bears almost immediately and moved on to create their bears and to make special “heart wishes” after they kissed their soft red hearts.
Lilly’s wish? For her brother to be well.
Lilly’s brother is currently in treatment at the very hospital where Quinnlin and her brother had their transplants and where they have their follow up care. Lilly’s brother has a skin issue the doctors want to make sure doesn’t turn into full blown cancer so they are treating him for the next year. Obviously, Lilly is worried about her brother. “He will be okay.” Quinnlin said, as Lilly named her bear “Hope” and Quinnlin named her bear “Faith.” Now Lilly has Quinnlin to support her as only a BFF can and a new friend in her Peace & Hearts bear, Hope, to comfort her.
The number of heart wishes Quinnlin’s family goes through in an average year are too many to count. The wishes are made of hopes and dreams: for a son or brother to be well, for a girl to find a Best Friend Forever and for a child to grow up in a world where we accept differences in each other.
Champerina has had a big job since joining Quinnlin on her journey. She has comforted Quinnlin in the hospital, she has been to the doctor, and she has helped Quinnlin cope in play therapy. One of the most important things Champerina gives is the gift of friendship.
Measuring challenges is what the world can do to kids with special needs. There is no way to measure the magical gift of friendship though. Friends like Champerina and Quinnlin, Quinnlin and Lilly and now Lilly and Hope and Hope and Faith, are always growing.
Quinnlin and Lilly always remember that friends count.