5-year-old's wish to meet aunt comes true - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

5-year-old's wish to meet aunt comes true

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CHENEY, Wash. -

Every parent expecting a baby knows the excitement of going to the hospital to bring a new life into the world. But few know the feeling of welcoming your new baby into the world, only to find out something is wrong. 

Adam and Melissa Golden know this helpless feeling all too well. Their little bundle of joy came into this world with the cards heavily stacked against her. Born with a duplication of chromosome 16, Abby's parents were uncertain what the future would look like from that day forward, but doctors were certain what it would not look like for Abby.

"They told us she'd probably never walk and never talk. She had a trach put it at 3 months, they said she'd always have it. They told us she wouldn't make it past 2 1/2 years old, but she's 5 today," Abby's mom Melissa says with a smile.    

But Melissa's strength hasn't always been so obvious. Fighting back tears she says, "I begged the doctors to take the trach out, I begged them to take the tubes, I was done, I was over it, I wanted her to be like everybody else."

As Melissa and her husband grieved the life their daughter would never have, there was also the question of why? 

"My husband asked me the question one day, he said, 'why do we have an unhealthy kid when we did everything right? It's not fair,' he said. But I just started to feel like God gave us the opportunity to be her parents because he knew she'd be taken care of."

Eventually, against everything the doctors said Abby would never be able to do, the Goldens decided only God would decide their daughter's fate. "We just decided we weren't going to give up."


And give up they didn't. 

If there's one thing that can be said about Abby, she's definitely a fighter. At 5-years-old she's been through more than most adults go through in a lifetime. She has survived seizures and 11 surgeries (including a tracheostomy and jaw reconstruction). She has been on a feeding tube most of her life and has a spinal shunt to drain fluid. While she eventually did learn to walk at the age of three, she's still working to build enough strength to stand all day without using her wheel chair; she has hypotonia which means she had low muscle tone and reduced strength.

As you can imagine, basic milestones in a child's life, for Abby, have come with huge hurdles. Amidst it all, while praying for her through every procedure, encouraging her through the hard times and being her biggest fans through her triumphs, Abby's parents have also had to sit back and accept that Abby's life will never quite look like the life they imagined and neither will theirs.

With two other children in their family, Abby is not the only one who has missed out on a normal childhood. "My kids have missed out on a lot because of Abby's situation, Abby has missed out on a lot," Melissa said. "Because of the severity of Abby's condition, she's needed 24/7 care. Her situation requires one parent to stay home all the time."

When you combine Abby's health issues with her extremely susceptible immune system, taking Abby out in public has been a rare occurrence and Abby's father Adam has quit his job to be able to stay home with her.

You can imagine the thrill then, not just for Abby, when the Make-A-Wish foundation told the Golden's Abby qualified for a wish. 

It didn't take long for Abby to decide who she wanted to meet for the very first time, and no... it wasn't Mickey Mouse. "Auntie Lolo," as Abby calls her, has been a big part of the Golden's life (Auntie Lolo is Melissa's sister) but it had been way too long since they had seen her in person. Abby had actually never met her Auntie Lolo, they had only chatted over numerous Skype conversations. 

So as soon as Abby was well enough to take her first airplane ride, the entire Golden family boarded a plane and flew 2,300 miles so Abby could meet Auntie Lolo face-to-face for the very first time in person. 

It was a trip full of many firsts for Abby, "It was the most amazing thing to see her jump on a trampoline for the first time," her mom describes. Abby got to play at a water park, go to the Smithsonian Zoo and try her first taste of Chinese food. Doing it all with her big brother Isaac, whom she is very fond of, her little sister, her parents, and of course, her Auntie Lolo by her side. 

When you ask Melissa what the trip from Make-A-Wish meant to her family, she says the best thing is that for the first time, she got to see her daughter be just like everybody else. "It was an opportunity for new experiences for her. I couldn't have asked for a better miracle. They didn't just grant her wish, they granted mine."

When you ask Abby what the trip meant to her... "It was fun!" she says, something she doesn't get to experience a lot of, at least in the way most children would define "fun."

Abby still has a long road ahead of her and her future is unknown. When I asked Abby about going in for countless surgeries, she told me she feels scared sometimes. "I feel scared getting my stitches out," she said. But she also told me that someone stays with her in the operating room... "God holds my hand," she said. 

God holds her hand, bringing comfort to more than just Abby.

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