Six-year-old Kinslee Parrish and her 9-year-old brother Cason like to do what they can to help raise money for the Make-Wish-Foundation.
They know first hand what great work the nonprofit does.
Kinslee was granted a wish from the foundation several years ago when she was in the middle of a 3-year battle with leukemia. She and her family got to take a trip to Disney.
“It was a really good time for us,” said Kinslee’s mom, Kayla. “For that moment, we could just have fun. We like to help them, knowing that another family is going to have that time.”
Kinslee was only 2 years old when she began to have some puzzling health issues.
“She had lots of little infections,” her mother said. “Her leg started hurting. She wasn’t sleeping through the night. I thought it was growing pains. Then one day she couldn’t walk on her foot. She was limping. That alarmed us.”
The doctor, however, could not pinpoint the problem and her blood work looked fine.
Then her elbow swelled up, and her pediatrician consulted a specialist at Cook Medical Center in Fort Worth. They ordered more blood work.
That’s when we found out,” Kayla said “We immediately went to Cooks. My husband happened to be out of state. I got a hold of him, and a friend flew up and got him and brought him to Stephenville.”
Kayla said she didn’t really even have time to consider the magnitude of the situation.
“I really didn’t have time to be scared,” she said. “I was glad that we knew what it was and what we were dealing with. I was ready to take care of it. An oncologist came and talked to us and assured us that it was very treatable.”
The following years were filled with chemo, blood counts and keeping Kinslee isolated from potential viruses. Kayla said Kinslee was too young to understand what was happening.
“It kind of became her normal,” Kayla said. “We did so many treatments, she got used to it. She thought that’s what all 2-year-olds did.”
About a year into her treatment, their doctor told them that Kinslee was eligible to make a wish.
“At the time she was all about princesses,” Kayla said. “We knew that was our choice to go to Disney. She loved every minute of it. We met every princess we saw, and she got to go to Cinderella’s castle and get made up like a princess. That made her day.
Make-A-Wish rolls out the red carpet for you. It was magical. It really was.”
Now that Kinslee has finished her three years of treatment and has been cancer free for almost two years, the Parishes do what they can to help Make-A-Wish. Kinslee regularly goes and creates artwork for their fundraiser, and one year on his birthday, Cason asked guests to donate to Make-A-Wish instead of giving him presents.
And this year, Kayla is telling their story in hopes of bringing some attention to Make-A-Wish, which has its big Wine & Wishes 2018 fundraiser coming up on Oct. 18 in the SoDA District Courtyard in downtown Abilene. For more information on the fundraiser go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 432-203-9612.
You can also help Make-A-Wish by donating to the organization during Abilene Gives on May 1. The link is https://abilenegives.org/designee/make-a-wish.
The Parrish family had two wishes come true: the trip to Disney and their daughters return to health. Kayla said not only did Make-A-Wish help them, but family and friends rallied around them and did a Kickin For Kinslee fundraiser.
“Our friends were amazing,” Kayla said. “I don’t know how we would have gotten through it without them. Everybody was wonderful and supportive. We have amazing family and friends.”