DIXMONT, Maine — During hot summer days, most people would love a pool in their backyards!
Isiah Washburn, a 12-year-old from Dixmont, wished for a pool to both to have fun and relax in, and also for reasons of physical therapy following extensive treatments.
Isiah was born with a very rare disease called Hurler Syndrome. It is a genetic disorder that impacts his body's metabolism, joints, heart, and other organs.
"Isiah has had 23 surgeries, the majority of those have been orthopedic, spinal, hip, knees, carpal tunnel," says his grandmother, Lori Merrow.
Isiah will have a corneal transplant at the end of the month.
There are some good things happening in his life though. On Saturday, August 15, Isiah received a big surprise-- a heated pool!
"Isiah wished for a pool because the warm water would be therapeutic to his body and provide exercise for his joints so negatively impacted by his genetic disorder," says Sonya Purington, the director of Mission Delivery at Make-A-Wish Maine.
"[It] is one of the reasons that he loves it so much. It not only brings him pleasure and joy, but it's also really good for him," says Merrow.
Besides the pool in his back yard, Isiah was also surprised by a seaplane fly-in. The pool was sponsored by Wings on the Waterfront, a Dexter-based seaplane fly-in fundraising event benefiting Make-A-Wish.
"You know there's a few times in life where you see your child really WOW! This is awesome!" says James Zimmerman, Isiah's father.
And what's a party without pizza? Maine's State Police made a special pizza delivery during the pool unveiling.
“Many of the children we work with feel isolated and disconnected due to their illness, treatments and hospitalizations. The pandemic makes this even more trying for them. We’re honored to continue to grant wishes like these during a time when wish kids need joy and positive distractions more than ever,” said Kate Vickery, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Maine.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants more than 70 wishes every year in Maine for kids with critical illnesses.