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

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

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

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