Make-A-Wish helps girl on difficult medical journey

Published: Aug. 28, 2019 at 10:09 PM EDT
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You've no doubt heard of Make-A-Wish and maybe think it only grants wishes to terminally ill children.

But that's not the case.

The group says it also honors kids with a life-threatening medical condition and the courage they've shown to face it.

Kids like Emmaline Winn. When you see her doing cartwheels in her backyard, she looks like a typical, healthy 10-year-old.

But two years ago, Emmaline got sick. Her mother thought it was a stubborn virus.

"She had a nagging cough that would not go away," said mother Krista Winn. "She didn't have any energy."

They soon learned it was

a rare and serious condition that happens when the bone marrow fails to produce blood cells.

Emmaline was rushed directly from school to ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital. "It was kinda scary," says Emmaline. "I didn't really know what was going on."

Emmaline went to Cincinnati for further treatment and when she came back home with a high risk of infection, life as they knew it was very different.

"I couldn't have friends over and I couldn't go to school," she says. "And when my brother and sister got home, they had to change their clothes and wash their hands."

During this time, Emmaline's mom says a social worker at Toledo Children's Hospital handed her a Make-A-Wish application. It frightened Krista. She thought Make-A-Wish was just for kids with a fatal illness and maybe Emmaline was sicker than they thought.

"And I'm sure she could tell by my face that I didn't understand why she was giving it to me," Krista says. "I didn't want to take it."

But when she learned it was also for kids on difficult medical journeys, the family embraced the idea. "I thought of a Disney cruise," said Emmaline.

Last September, after Emmaline was medically cleared, she, her mom and dad, older brother Kendrick and younger sister Claira, took a four-day Disney Caribbean cruise.

Emmaline is considered cured but she'll have regular blood tests and another bone marrow biopsy next spring, just to make sure.

Her mom says her recovery is a blessing, helped by the gift from Make-A-Wish. "It was really, really special," says Krista.

ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital and Make-A-Wish are teaming up for a fundraiser "Making Wishes Come True", Thursday September 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Hollywood Casino parking lot at 1968 Miami Street. Click

for tickets.