A wish can be so powerful that it lasts far beyond the present. Sometimes it is a long-term memory of joy, energy, and positivity that stays with the child as he powers on fighting his critical illness. For Ivan, the memory of the community pulling together to make his wish come true will last a lifetime.
Six-year-old Ivan broadcasts his vibrant personality for everyone to see. He loves meeting new people and never hesitates to show off his cool dance moves and singing prowess, especially to his classmates. A child full of hope and courage, Ivan enjoys playing with action figures, watching movies, and shopping with his grandma. Despite his painful genetic condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa Dystrophica (EBD), Ivan continues to do the things he loves with a wide grin across his face every step of the way.
Living with EBD can prove quite difficult. The disease’s symptoms primarily target the skin, making it very fragile and susceptible to blistering. Minor injuries and common behaviors such as scratching can lead to severe scarring of the affected area, making simple tasks and actions much more precarious and difficult. Because of this, caring for a child with EBD requires near constant attention. As Ivan's mom, Hildelisa, explains, “I did have to leave work to become a full provider for Ivan. I have to stay with Ivan for an hour to make sure he eats all his food. His dressing changes take two, three, four hours a day."
As of yet there is no known cure for Ivan’s condition, but every year he and his family fly to San Francisco to a special clinic to see if there are any new advancements. Hopefully the next time he goes they’ll have great news for him.
When it was time to choose a wish, there were many things to consider. A trip to Disneyland or Legoland had sounded fun to him; however, due to Ivan’s condition, a theme park wish would conjure some unwanted health issues. So, Ivan decided on a wish that allowed him continuous fun even after the wish was over. Ivan wished to have a shopping spree to get as many toys as possible. To make the experience even more special, he wanted to dress as his favorite superhero, a costume that would provide superpowered protection while on his wish.
Having a visible health condition may seem daunting, but children like Ivan show time and time again that interior value and acceptance of identity lead the way to genuine happiness. In celebration of World Wish Day 2018, Ivan’s wish to have a shopping spree became a reality. Thanks to the support and generosity of the Southern Nevada community, Ivan’s wish was so much more than he and his family could ever have imagined. Ivan turned Downtown Summerlin Make-A-Wish blue with the help of magician Landon Swank before heading to Macy’s for his shopping spree.
“The day of the wish, Ivan was so excited. Everybody treated him with love, and he was just Ivan,” said Hildelisa. She saw a positive change in her son’s demeanor that day and says his wish experience showed Ivan that wishes really do come true.
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