Washington column for Nov. 25

The Make-A-Wish Foundation made a trip to Disney World possible for (from left) Brianna, Ryan, Adam, Mirandah and Angie Jenkins.

Parents give thanks for each day with son

We should be grateful for the little things that make each day worthwhile — a friend who brings you flowers or a loved one’s warming smile. Remember to count your blessings, however great or small, for they’re the silver lining whenever storm clouds come your way.

For parents Adam and Angie Jenkins of Washington, a storm cloud passed over them. They did not give up. With the love and support of their family, community and friends and their faith in God, they would not have been able to make it through the most difficult time in their lives.

In December 2007, Ryan Jenkins, now 3, was diagnosed with SCIDS (severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome). His survival depended on a bone marrow transplant.

He was flown by a medical jet to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he received a transplant from donated cord blood on Dec. 31, 2007. The family was told 100 days later that he would have to have a second transplant. So in May 2008 he was readmitted to the hospital and started a more intense round of chemotherapy to prepare him for his new cells.

On May 19, he received a transplant from a 23-year-old man who was a perfect match. Within 14 days, mom and dad knew that this transplant had worked. Although it was not the end of his problems it set him on the right path. But he had to be readmitted and discharged several times over the next nine months for various infections, dehydration and viruses.

In February of 2009 he was scheduled to fly home via Angel Flights (a group of pilots who donate time, aircraft and money to transport patients). The day before he was to leave he was readmitted to the hospital for a virus. He was treated and released and by March was finally headed home after spending 15 months with his dad in Ohio. Mom had stayed home with Ryan’s two sisters, Brianna and Mirandah, who went to Ohio as often as school schedules would allow.

Ryan has done amazingly well since returning home and is now attending a Rappahannock County Elementary preschool program.
Dad and mom had heard of many children at the Cincinnati

who were granted wishes from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so they applied as well. The foundation sent two volunteers out to the Jenkins’ home to meet with Ryan and to learn what his wish would be. He wanted to go to Disney World to see Mickey Mouse. His doctor approved the trip.
A limo was sent to pick up Ryan and the family and they were flown to Disney World for six nights. Ryan and his family received many gifts from Disney World, an amazing place to stay while there, a rental car, tickets to seven different parks, airfare and spending money. He stayed at a place called Give Kids the World Village in central Florida. “It was a great way to celebrate his life with his family,” said his mom.

Mom and dad were amazed at all the time and money that is donated to the Make a Wish foundation and Give Kids the World. “It was an amazing experience that Ryan enjoyed and hopefully will never forget,” said mom.

If anyone can donate their time or be of help in any other way to the organizations it would be a rewarding thing to do. There is also a need for bone marrow donors. You can register at www.marrow.org. Both dad and mom Jenkins have registered and hope to be able to save someone else’s child the way their sweet little Ryan was saved.

Adam and Angie would also like to thank the entire Rappahannock community for all the love and support they received during the time Ryan was away.

“We are so blessed to be a part of such an amazing community and would not have been able to make it through the most difficult time in our lives without each and every one of you,” said Angie Jenkins.

They are counting their blessings each day and they have lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day.

Let’s remember to be grateful for the little things that make each day worthwhile for us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes to Lois McFarland of Washington, who celebrates her 90th birthday on Sunday (Nov. 27). Betty Grigsby, her daughter, would like to wish her many more to come, and she loves you very much.