Grayson was born a happy, seemingly healthy little boy, who happened to be born with club feet. His mother was assured this would be an easy fix and after a few months he would have great little feet just like any other little boy around. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of his medical journey. At 7 months old he had started developing several neurological conditions. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and autonomic dysfunction. Grayson throughout his life has battled several different issues ranging from infections, a rare genetic abnormality, chronic pain disease, growth delays, brain maldevelopment, feeding issues, behavioral issues and developmental delays. Despite his laundry list of medical problems, Graysoncontinues to be a happy little boy no matter what the situation.
“Make-A-Wish® Iowa was mentioned to us by Grayson’s neurologist,” Grayson’s mom, Shaylee shares. “He felt that Grayson had been through a lot in his short life. At that time, we were undergoing a workup at Mayo Clinic due to the possibility of a mitochondrial disease. We didn’t think that Grayson would live past two years old. Thankfully they were wrong. I as his parent applied for MAW for him. I had no idea at this time of the impact this foundation would have on not only his life but my entire family’s life.”
The day Grayson’s mother received word that he was approved for a wish she said it felt surreal. This made that reality of Grayson’s diagnosis a reality when it was his family normal. The wish progress excited his family as they began to explain the idea of a wish to their son.
“Different thoughts and ideas of different wishes went through my mind and I at this point had no idea what to pick,” Shaylee remembers. “We eventually met with volunteers and thought maybe a Disney trip would be amazing. Well as amazing as that would have been, Grayson’s health changed, and this was not going to be possible. So, a gift wish was decided on. He loves to be outdoors but it’s hard to do anything due to his medical instability. After talking to other families that had been through this process, it was decided a camper would be the perfect wish! And that’s exactly what it was, nothing short of amazing.”
As they waited for their perfect camper, Grayson and his family shopped, prepared, made decorations and they even picked out their own sleeping bags. After one year of hope and excitement, they received the call that their new campter was ready to be picked. They planned to surprised Grayson.
The level of happy on that child’s face was above and beyond.
“My stepdad towed it home with Grayson standing in the front yard,” Shaylee explains. “The level of happy on that child’s face was above and beyond. ‘My camper mommy my camper!’ We got it parked in the driveway and that’s when the fun started. He got in that camper and it was claimed his. And the rest of the summer that’s the only place he wanted to be. That camper went out tons over the summer, and during the Derecho even doubled as our home for 11 days. It was the miracle we needed, and we didn’t even know it at the time.”
The wish gave their family the flexibility to go do things as a family. No matter if Grayson was having a good day or bad, he had a place to go that was his own. He could be outside but if he needed a break, he had a safe spot in his camper. This gave them the opportunity to do things that they did not get to do the first five and a half years of his life. When their family friends also purchased a camper, they began to plan to spend the summer making amazing memories together. Grayson always said every day when we were camping it was “bet day ever.”
I will never be able to thank Make-A-Wish Iowa enough for everything they have done for not only Grayson but my whole family.
“I will never be able to thank Make-A-Wish Iowa enough for everything they have done for not only Grayson but my whole family,” Shaylee expresses. “This has given us a whole new world to explore and enjoy. Grayson’s medical conditions essentially control our lives at times, and this is a way we can maintain his comfort and have fun. We don’t know what the future has in store for my sweet little boy, but I do know the wish from the Make-A-Wish organizaiton has given us the ability to enjoy every single minute of the life we have with him.”