That goofy looking kid was me when I was 11, a year after being diagnosed with a rare and potentially fatal blood disease called Severe Aplastic Anemia. I was in the hospital and Ronald McDonald house for roughly two and a half years.
Those two and a half years were difficult to say the least. Chemo therapy and radiation take a unique toll on the mind, and body. Luckily on Dec 19 2002, two and a half years after my diagnosis, my family received an early Christmas present in the form of good news! The doctor said that we had finally found a bone marrow match!
To speak frankly, this came just in time, my body was now failing at a faster rate than with which the treatment could keep up. I remember telling my mom that if this time didn't work I was ready to go home -she agreed.
Thank God it worked! I gained some curly hair and a new blood type, easy trade-offs for a kid who just wanted to go back outside and into the woods.
We later found out that my match was from a woman named Joanne and she had a thing for Angels.
Joanne and I kept in touch and I went on to live a happy and healthy life.
However, I would always think back at my time in the hospital, both the good and the bad, and couldn't help but think I wanted to do something for these kids who inevitably took my place.
Something that would help them deal with the day to day of being very sick and stuck in a room for long periods of time.
I decided that something would be a charitable organization.
A charitable organization focused on providing a sense of play, fun, and distraction from what is often a very real and very scary reality for any young child.
Thus Wings of Joanne was born! named after my donor and Guardian Angel Joanne.
By combining the latest technology with a child's imagination Wings of Joanne is able to provide something magical; A window into another reality, a virtual reality.