Local vet clinic works with Make-A-Wish to grant new puppy wish
Dwayne Forrester, 13, and his puppy will receive free vet care from Banfield Animal Hospital
Everybody knows that a dog is man’s best friend.
But for 13-year-old Dwayne Forrester of Baltimore, his new puppy was more than just a friend- he was a sign of hope and a welldeserved gift for bravely fighting a life-threatening illness.
On Saturday, September 2, Dwayne arrived at the Banfield Animal Hospital in Middle River, cradling his 7-week old boxer puppy in his arms, as he and his family were greeted by the staff of the clinic.
His new puppy, now named Zane, was his wish granted from the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic Foundation.
Dwayne is afflicted with a genetic disease called Adrenoleukodystrophy or ALD for short. The disease affects the nervous system and adrenal glands. It is not curable but treatment can stop the progression. Dwayne, for example, underwent a bone marrow treatment last year and has to get an MRI every three months while sticking to an extremely low-fat diet and being closely monitored by specialists at John Hopkins. September is Leukodystrophy Disease Awareness Month, said Dwayne’s mother, Desirae, so she hopes Dwayne and Zane’s story can help and inspire others with the disease. Throughout his years of treatment and the life-saving bone marrow transplant surgery, Dwayne has remained strong and served as an inspiration for his entire family, said Desirae. During doctor visit after doctor visit, Dwayne would discuss his one dream- to have a puppy. He’d excitedly tell the doctors how he would dress the puppy up and bring him into the hospital to brighten up the days of the other patients. After approximately 6 months of organizing and planning with a breeder, Dwayne got his puppy. Laura Gavin, the Make-A-Wish volunteer handling
Dwayne’s case, delivered the puppy to the family earlier in the week.
She said he was referred to the family by the child life specialist at the hospital he is being treated.
“As a volunteer, you actually get to interact with the families and are hand-on in the wish-granting process. I love that, you’re the main face for the Make-A-Wish foundation that they see,” the four-year volunteer said.
As part of the wish, Make-A-Wish reached out to the Banfield Animal Hospital, located inside the Petco on Pulaski Highway, which provided the family with an Optimum Wellness Plan for Zane, which provides the preventive care, including unlimited office visits, routine vaccines and de-worming. Banfield even rolled out a red carpet to welcome the family to Zane’s first checkup. The boxer puppy got a clean bill of health.
“When you know you have someone like Banfield in your corner to make sure your furry family member is taken care of, that’s a huge relief and one less thing for you to worry about,” said Kellie Wyatt, the communication manager at Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic.
Banfield has worked with the foundation on many previous wishes, she said.
Since its formation in 1983, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic has fundraised for and granted 9500 wishes for kids in southern Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, and northern Virginia. They currently have 600 children in the pipeline who have been referred and are in the process of having their wishes granted.
“For wish kids, just the act of making their wish come true can give them the courage to comply with their medical treatments,” states the organization’s website.
Every year they expect 840-50 children diagnosed with life theatening diseases to be referred to them.
“There’s a lot of work to do but with the support of the community and good partners like Banfield, we eventually we hope to wish the wish of every eligible child,” Wyatt said.
For more information on Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and for other stories like Dwayne’s, visit http:// midatlantic.wish.org.
Dwayne and Zane
Zane being examined by the veterinarians at the Banfield Animal Hospital in Middle River.
The Forrester family received the red carpet treatment