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When Wishes Come True
A Springfield family drawn close by illness is pulled in even more tightly by something worthy of celebration. Six-year-old Derrick Smith spends much of his time in the hospital undergoing treatments for leukemia.
Derrick is not much of a morning person but lately, "he's been excited," Derrick's mother Rebecca Smith said. "Like, he woke me up crazy this morning. He was ready to go."
Who can blame him? Derrick wished for a $1,400 shopping spree and, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, it came true. While roaming the aisles of Wal-Mart, Derrick bagged an Xbox, enough superheroes to save the world, and who could resist a new bedroom splashed with SpongeBob SquarePants?
Derrick’s baby brother is exhausted, but his other brother and twin sister are rolling right along. And each and every one of them is a superhero.
"When he first got diagnosed he was 4 1/2. It was hard," Smith said.
Derrick’s childhood became riddled with trips to the hospital, but his family made it fun.
“When they go to the hospital they don't think, 'Oh, it's another spinal tap,' or 'It's another chemotherapy session,'" Smith said. "It's, 'We get to go to the playroom and play,' or 'We get the Xbox and play the games."
Derrick is still undergoing treatments, but his mother sees nothing he cannot conquer.
“I see him making it through it," Smith said. "When he loves school as much as he does, I see him continuing through it when he gets older. I see him being happy."
Derrick is saving up his superpowers to push through yet another round of treatments. Once that is complete, his mother is hoping he can join his twin sister back at school.
In Illinois alone, there are more than 1,400 Make-A-Wish volunteers who help wishes like Derrick’s come true. The non-profit organization is hoping to grant 700 wishes just in our state this year.