EDEN, Vt. – Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont Make-A-Wish is finding ways to continue bringing special moments to children with life-threatening illnesses.
On Thursday, 7 year-old Aynsly Audet watched as a parade of fire engines, tractors, tow trucks and police cruisers drove by her house, blaring their horns in a show of support.
Aynsly is battling cystic fibrosis, and Vermont Make-A-Wish had been working to grant her a simple wish before the pandemic started.
“We went and visited her a couple of times and determined what her wish was,” said Pam Clark, a volunteer wish granter. “She had visited a few farms and decided she wanted to start her own mini-farm.”
Aynsly drew a picture of what she wanted her farm to look like, and even received a cake with the picture on it.
Her barn will be build next month and house two mini-goats and two lambs, but it was the show of support from the community, including Aynsly’s classmates and teachers, that impacted the Audet family.
“We have a great community, we’ve always known that,” said Wanda Audet.
“It’s really amazing,” added Brian Audet. “That many people to show up, and I think it means a lot to Aynsly, a huge part of the whole picture.”
The granted wish comes during a time of celebration for the Audets – Brian and Wanda formally adopted Aynsly on May 18.
It was all made possible by the creative efforts of Make-A-Wish Vermont at a time when holding any sort of event is a logistical challenge.
“We have been able to put this together all working remotely, and we’re very excited tonight about all of this, to go by her house and tell her that her wish is coming true.”
James Hathaway, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Vermont, said there’s still a lot that can be done despite limits on gatherings.
“If we bring the same amount of creativity to granting wishes that kids bring to thinking them up, we’re going to be able to do things like today,” Hathaway said. “It’s still magic, we’re not inside, we’re not doing it like we normally do, but there’s magic here.”