On a recent day in May, volunteers from a local service club teamed up with Make-A-Wish volunteers just outside of Rockford to make a little girl’s dream come true. The group came together to assemble a wheelchair accessible swing in wish child Savannah’s back yard.
Savannah has lived with a progressive and degenerative neuromuscular disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1, since birth. The disease causes muscle weakness and breathing difficulty and affects her ability to speak.
On top of continuous therapy and visits to the clinic, Savannah has endured more hardship in recent years with the passing of her mother and aunt. She is described by her grandmother, Maria Rodriguez, as “a true warrior and fighter.”
Savannah lives with her grandparents and enjoys spending time outside with them. Wish granting volunteers Sue Heng and Elizabeth Reed worked with Savannah and the family to discover what wish would make a lasting impact for her. An accessible swing where she could enjoy the soothing motion and be outside more often was just the thing Savannah needed. The covered swing is designed to allow others to ride with her and is complete with a sign that reads “Savannah’s Cabana.”
Rodriguez said, “We were so surprised by how fancy the swing was. It was so much more than we expected.”
On the beautiful day when the swing was revealed to Savannah, family and friends took turns swinging with her and witnessed her bliss as she swayed back and forth.
Though Savannah is nonverbal, she is learning how to sign that she wants to go out and swing. It was obvious Savannah enjoyed the feeling of freedom and exhilaration of motion the swing brought her.