A week before Thanksgiving, a Wish-Granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Weber State University employee, Dana Gibson, called Rhett Douglass’ parents with some welcomed news while he was in the emergency room of Primary Children’s Hospital.
Rhett was going to San Diego’s Legoland for five days starting March 1, 2012, Gibson told his mom, Christa Douglass.
“She called me while we were at Primary’s and told me, and I didn’t tell him because it was a surprise,” Douglass said. “But it sure helped me get through the couple of days that we were there, just knowing that he was going to come home from the hospital and find out that he was actually going to be able to go. So it was wonderful. I was just thrilled.”
It was later Douglass learned her son would also be the honorary guest at this weekend’s First Lego League qualifying competition. The WSU qualifying competition is one of nine in the state in which about 200 children will compete to build the best Lego robot to complete a prescribed task. The competition is aimed at sparking interest in science and technology.
Rhett will kick off the competition by telling competitors when to start.
A social worker who worked with the Douglass family referred Rhett to the Make-A- Wish foundation. Gibson was assigned to Rhett to be his Wish-Granter, because they both lived in the same area. Gibson then got to work to find out what the child wanted and use Make-A-Wish funds to grant it.
“So we go to meet the family,” Gibson explained, “get to know them, and then kind of help him determine what he wants to wish for. And Legoland was the only thing he wanted to wish for.”
The wish was appropriate. Douglass explained that her son has a passion for Legos. He has some of the construction sets and is a big fan of the Bionicles and the Hero Factory figures that he can put together. She said her son shows a creativity in the process and often spends his time building elaborate Lego designs without asking for assistance.
“We also say he’s our little engineer,” Douglass said. “He says he’s going to be a cop, but we think he’s going to be an engineer.”
Meanwhile, Rhett, who is currently in remission, talked about what he looked forward to at Legoland. He also made other plans with his family to make the most out of the San Diego trip.
“We have one (other plan),” he said. “We will be going to the San Diego Zoo.”
Douglass will be accompanied by his younger sister and both his parents. His mother talked about the thing that affected her the most about the entire experience.
“I just think it’s wonderful that so many people rally and want to help out in any way they can,” she said. “This is going to be awesome for Rhett. I’m just so appreciative. This is wonderful.”
Gibson also went on to say the thing she appreciates about Rhett and the opportunity to assist in granting his wish.
“He’s adorable and he’s just so grateful,” she said. “He’s just a really sweet kid and so appreciative of the opportunity to go and be able to do what he wants to do and forget about being sick and just be a normal kid for a week.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is an international organization which aims to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.