The Story of Genesis and Hope by Pam Ruben

As the mom of a “wish kid,” I know that a wish is much more than a magical moment, or a special family vacation for a child who is sick. When my daughter’s wish was granted, we were filled with an indescribable feeling of hope, just like Genesis’ family.  A wish means that something has gone right in the world where much has gone wrong. A wish is a once in a lifetime experience to look forward to, and then to treasure afterwards. A wish (from New Hope’s Wishes for Kids program) brings a team of caring people into your life whose sole purpose is to bring happiness to your child.  I wish Genesis and the Lopez family joy and happiness on their Disney Cruise, a family vacation that will last a lifetime. –Pam

IMG_0575.JPGGenesis Lopez is an adorable, bright 16 year old girl with twinkling dark eyes and an infectious smile (pictured above in blue with her family). This upcoming young artist also happens to be a “wish kid” with New Hope’s Wishes for Kids program. Genesis is a “typical teen” in many respects, but living with spina bifida (a neural tube defect where the spinal cord is outside the body at birth) has presented some extraordinary challenges for the high school sophomore. Last Saturday, I attended a fundraiser in Genesis’ honor to help raise money to send her family on a Disney Cruise. Genesis’ parents, Diana and Javier Lopez, were by her side, as they have been for the past 16 years. Mr. Lopez shared that spina bifida has caused his daughter to be in constant pain. He explained that her spinal cord is wound very tightly, constricting her movement which makes walking and other daily activities challenging.  Genesis has had more than 30 surgeries to help alleviate this incurable condition, with the next one  scheduled this week.

Mr. Lopez also shared that working with Wishes for Kids brought the family “New Hope” just when it was needed most. Six months ago, a change in Lopez’s employment status brought added difficulty and stress to the family added to concern over Genesis’ 31st surgery.

Last month, Genesis mailed an application for a wish to New Hope’s Wishes for Kids program. The family was surprised by how quickly the wish process began. In a short period, Genesis and her family met Wish Director Rosie Wilder, and her fundraising team, The Hopeful Knights from UCF’s Cornerstone Program. These key players help to make the wish come true in a timely manner.

The Lopez family noted that the hope stemming from Genesis’ upcoming wish has helped carry the family through some difficult times.  It will take place in the fall when she has healed from her procedure, and coincides with her 17th birthday.  Lopez is especially grateful to New Hope because a family trip will bring them together at a time of happiness, which has been a lifetime wish for the entire family.