Season Of Wishes: Emma’s Wish


By Aimee Burnett

Burley, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Make a Wish, on average, grants a wish every thirty-eight seconds to a child with a life threatening medical condition

All this month ... every Thursday … we'll be sharing the stories of people in our community who have benefited from the Idaho Make a Wish Foundation.

"We found out that I was diagnosed with Leukemia. It's a cancer in your blood. And, we found out because one of my wrists and my ankles were inflamed... almost like they were infected," Emma Gibbons says.

Five years ago on November 21st, Emma was diagnosed with Leukemia.

"The doctors were concerned about her life, and as a parent, the gravity of that situation was pretty heavy. It was really difficult for the family because we were separated. We had the majority of the family living here in Burley, and Emma and I were living in Salt Lake. I left a one year old at home with Jeff, and he was amazing. But, also our neighborhood and our family they all pitched in and helped be the mother," explains Lana Gibbons, Emma’s mother.

"I don't like needles at all. I never have and I never will, so it's kind of like I didn't know what was going on. But, even then I was really ultra scared," Emma says.

"She had leukemia, which doesn't necessarily require a bone marrow transplant unless you have something wrong with your DNA and that's what was happening to her. Jeff and I were out because we only have 50% of her, but each of the siblings were tested. And, out of the six siblings tested, one of them was a match. Ty, and he was our little savior that day and throughout that time. He was four years old at the time and he was really excited to be the match. He kept telling everybody he was going to save Emma's life and he did," Lana explains.

Emma considers herself to have two birthdays because of what needed to happen for her to receive a bone marrow transplant.

"When you get a transplant, you basically bring the person to the brink of death before you can give them the bone marrow from the other person. So, it was a really long road to get her there," Lana points out.

Make a Wish contacted the family while Emma was in the hospital and asked how they could help.

"She had said she wanted to go to a beach and she wanted to find shells and study about them and learn about them," Lana says.

After Emma got out of the hospital, Make a Wish arranged for her and her family to travel to Florida in search of sea shells in 2011.

But, granting Emma’s wish wasn't the only way Make a Wish came to her aide.

"With me, they had lots of fundraisers. They had a fundraiser; they had a walk that my cousins on my mom's side did. They made shirts for me that said Walk for Emma. And, I think it's a great foundation that it can really get you through some things," Emma says.

"The thing that was nice for me at least is when we were having a battle or a hard time in the hospital, I would think about this wish and think about the fun time we were going to have as a family and it kind of gave me hope as to a light at the end of the tunnel," Lana notes.

Make a Wish Idaho has granted over 11-hundred wishes, each one a life-affirming testament to hope, inspiration and resilience.

Next week... We take you to Twin Falls... To tell you about another special Make a Wish recipient.

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