wish - many thanks
Make-a-Wish Foundation brings smiles to local family
English Burnett, Editor
It was a day to remember for the Vogel
family of Olean and in particular 10-year-old Luke, who was granted
a wish through the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.
On Thursday, July 30 a sleek black limousine driven by Bob Michaels
Sr., pulled into the driveway of the Vogel residence. Luke and
his family, parents Brian and Ann, and siblings, Matt, 18, Jacob,
15, and Jessica, 8, were whisked into the luxury limo for the
ride of a lifetime.
At the Dearborn/Ripley County line, another sleek, black vehicle,
driven by Deputy Mike Fogle of the Dearborn County Sheriffs
Department, led the caravan east on US 50 with lights flashing.
The police escort was doubled near Aurora with Aurora Assistant
Police Chief Dennis Lewis taking the lead.
Luke was thrilled, noted his mother, as the police
escort guided them through Aurora with no interruptions.
The final destination was Wal-Mart where Luke received a celebrity
status welcome complete with a huge banner, balloons, and a large
crowd clapping as he disembarked the limo.
Luke and his family were welcomed by manager Ryan Curtis where
he was declared the number one guest of the day. He was given
an official Wal-Mart badge, hat and plaque along with a huge cake
that said Hope you have a wonderful wish, to mark
Luke had been granted his wish of an electronic shopping trip
to Wal Mart that amounted to $2000 ($1750 from the Make-a-Wish
Foundation and $250 from Wal-Mart). Woodforest Bank kicked in
another $25.00 gift certificate and each of Lukes siblings
received a $50 gift card from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Any child between the ages of two and 18 who has been diagnosed
with a life-threatening medical condition is eligible to make
a wish. The childs doctor will refer them to the foundation
where they meet with volunteers to determine the wish and set
the wheels in motions to make it come true.
For the Vogels the journey that qualified Luke for the wish began
five years ago when he was just five years of age.
Ann told the Osgood Journal he (Luke) had fallen and was
complaining of headaches. He said, Mommy, I dont want
to swim - my head hurts. Ann remembered. She said
she knew something had to be wrong because he never missed an
opportunity to swim and hated to quit when the day was done.
From there it was a short series of doctors, tests and within
days Lukes parents were given the news that he had a tumor
on or near his brain stem that had to be removed.
The fall had nothing to do with the tumor except when he was checked
out, they found it. It was a blessing in disguise,
The tumor was the size of an egg but was benign, meaning Luke
would not have to go through chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
However, the situation was grave after he sustained double renal
failure post surgery.
The little guy pulled through only to face another challenge two
years later when the family would learn the tumor was growing
Ann did her homework and researched Dr. Kerry Crone, the surgeon
she would trust her sons life to. The second procedure was
more tedious than the first, and the family knew one wrong move
would mean Luke could have died.
Hes our little miracle, Ann said as she smiled
at her son shopping at Wal-Mart. She had high praise for the surgeon
whose expertise was second to none. He genuinely cares.
He was good with Luke and us answering our questions even before
we asked, Ann noted. He saved Lukes life.
The surgery left Luke with a promising prognosis, he would live,
but faces challenges daily.
It was so hard, Ann remembered. She said Luke went
to sleep (before the surgery) and was able to run and play. When
he woke up, he couldnt do any of it. He has permanent
double vision, has many symptoms of someone who has had a stroke
and is wheelchair bound.
The daily struggle of getting Luke to therapy at the Drake Center
in Ohio and taking care of her family was almost too much, Ann
noted. One day my sister called and I was just sobbing.
Her sister rolled into action and soon Ann was connected with
LifeTime Resources in Dillsboro, who has been a lifesaver
according to Ann. Ann runs a daycare center out of her home and
her husband farms and works full time at Hill Rom.
Many people were instrumental in helping the Vogel family as they
determined to do everything they could to strengthen the qualify
of life for their young son.
Childrens Hospital in Cincinnati was wonderful,
Ann said. But, the Make-a-Wish Foundation put the icing on the
cake - literally!
With all of the ups and downs of the past five years, last Thursday
was a definite high.
Although Lukes physical condition keeps him from smiling
on the outside, he was smiling on the inside as he picked out
a flat screen TV for his bedroom, a Wii with many games, videos
and much more.
Wal-Mart employees rallied around the family making Lukes
wish their command. Also, Make-a-Wish volunteer Sandie Blessing
was on hand to make the process smooth. She was appreciative of
the many donors who make the foundation a reality. People
give so much, the 10-year volunteer told the Osgood Journal.
The foundation is supported through local donations from individuals,
corporations, small businesses, civic organizations and clubs,
churches, schools, memorial contributions, foundations and special
fundraisers by the foundation itself.
That money is then put to good use with a record 800 wishes to
grant this year alone.
What does it mean for a family to receive this fabulous wish?
Everything, I cant explain how much it means,
After so much fear, sadness, anticipation, the Make-a-Wish Foundation
is the rainbow at the end of the rain.
Luke and his family enjoyed the day that kept bringing surprises
like a meal at Lukes favorite eatery - McDonalds and
coupons for later visits, a large cake for everyone at Wal-Mart
to enjoy and another decorated in Lukes favorite cartoon,
Sponge Bob Squarepants - to take home. Wal-Mart employees even
took the familys camera and developed their pictures while
they had lunch.
The limo driver professionally swept the family back inside the
waiting vehicle where all their purchases had been taken and took
them back to their home in Olean.
The day was one theyll remember always - a day with enough
stardust to keep the wish alive for years to come.
We thank everyone, just everyone, Ann concluded.
To find out more about the Make-a-Wish Foundation you can call
513-745-9474, 513-745-9660 or go online: www.makeawishohio.org.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTOS
Above, Luke Vogel, 10, gets a surprise
at the end of his shopping trip at Wal-Mart from Make-a-Wish
Foundation volunteer Sandie Blessing. It was a cake decorated
with his favorite cartoon characters, SpongeBob Squarepants.
He and his family were welcomed (below) to Wal-Mart by Manager
Ryan Curtis for the shopping spree as they arrived via limo
complete with a police escort.