Naples Florida Weekly
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When well-deserved wishes come true

Naples 3-year-old battling cancer asked for a castle fort and playset. Wish granted.

Noah is a 3-year-old Naples boy who has been battling cancer and recovering from a liver transplant. Make-A-Wish Southern Florida helped with the happiest of days, gifting Noah a special playhouse. COURTESY PHOTO

Noah is a 3-year-old Naples boy who has been battling cancer and recovering from a liver transplant. Make-A-Wish Southern Florida helped with the happiest of days, gifting Noah a special playhouse. COURTESY PHOTO

Make-A-Wish Southern Florida recently did what it does best — granting a wish for a medically-eligible child who is referred.

Three-year-old Noah, a Naples resident, spent nearly all of his first two and half years in the hospital, first battling cancer and then undergoing a liver transplant. After enduring numerous rounds of chemotherapy, an experimental procedure that had never before been tried on a child, and an emergency surgery in November, the youngster returned home ready for fun.

Noah’s wish was a castle fort and playset — a perfect wish of backyard additions for a child that loves to be outdoors. All the medical issues delayed his development, so the skills Noah is developing, such as running, jumping, and climbing, are both enjoyable and therapeutic.

Noah’s mom, Michelle, says Noah is excited to show off his castle fort, complete with a dragon head on top, that was built by wish sponsor Suffolk Construction. The made over backyard also includes a dragon themed playset that has a swing and slide that Noah loves to play on. Noah’s medical journey, and what receiving this wish has meant to him, is big.

Make-A-Wish Southern Florida has granted more than 14,000 life-changing wishes since 1983 for children who have critical illnesses. It aims to grant a wish for every medically-eligible child who is referred.

Wish kids most often ‘wish to be’ (something), ‘wish to meet’ (someone), ‘wish to go’ (somewhere), ‘wish to have’ (something), or ‘wish to give’ (to a cause) and the nonprofit organization makes this happen for the child and his/her entire family at no cost or obligation.

The Southern Florida chapter’s territory includes 22 counties/four regions in southeast and southwest Florida, on the Suncoast, and around Tampa Bay. It also includes the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the first year (1983), the chapter granted a wish every 180 days; this year it is expecting to grant more than 600, or one approximately every 14 hours. More than 14,000 children have received wishes to date.

“The wishes we grant aren’t just nice, they’re necessary. Research shows the anticipation of a wish and the memories made during them can have a positive and significant impact on the health and well-being of the children, families, and extended networks we reach,” says Taylor Marini, regional manager, Make-A-Wish Southern Florida.

To learn more, visit www.wish.org/sfla or follow and engage with Make-A-Wish Southern Florida on Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. ¦

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