Monette siblings receive wishes from Make-A-Wish Foundation

Friday, April 12, 2002

It is not unusual for young people to make wishes. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Anthony and Ashley Sims' wishes were granted.

Anthony, 14, and Ashley 10, along with their grandparents, Don and Guin Sims, enjoyed a trip to Disney World during their spring break from Buffalo Island Central. Anthony is in the eighth grade and Ashley is in the fifth grade.

The trip to Disney World was Ashley's wish. Anthony's wish was a lap top computer with Internet Service. Anthony got his lap top computer along with a year's Internet Service and a printer and digital camera.

Since Ashley shared her wish with Anthony, he is generous with his and allows Ashley to use his computer.

It was the first time they had taken an airplane trip and that was exciting in itself. Ashley was treated to a trip to the cockpit where she met the pilot and co-pilot and got to sit at the controls before take-off.

"We were treated like royalty," Mrs. Sims said. "We met a lot of wonderful, caring people."

The family stayed at "Give the Kids The World Village."

"Everyone at the village had children with health problems. It was great to see so many young people and their families having a vacation together and making memories that will last forever. We are very appreciative to the Make A Wish Foundation for the wonderful work they do."

Anthony and Ashley were diagnosed in December with Marfan Syndrome, a rare heart disorder that occurs in at least one in 10,000 people.

The most serious problems associated with Marfan syndrome involves the cardiovascular system. Also, a common problem is curvature of the spine, abnormal shaped chest, loose jointedness and disproportionate growth that can result in tall stature. Marfan is difficult to diagnose because there is no specific laboratory test for the condition. In addition, characteristics of the disorder vary among affected individuals. Most affected people do not have all of the possible signs and complications of the syndrome.

Mrs. Sims is very grateful to Dr. Kimberley Davis of Monette.

"I believe that she probably has saved their lives," Mrs. Sims said. "Monette is very lucky to have her here. Ashley had a crooked chest bone and we decided to have Dr. Davis take a look at it. She suspected the problem and put us in contact with a Dr. Anji Yetman in Little Rock who specializes in that field. We had Ashley's appointment set up when the Dr. Yettman called and asked if she had any brothers or sisters. She said it would be a good idea to bring Anthony along to be checked, also."

Both young people said it was a shock to find out that they had a heart problem

Anthony had no apparent symptoms other than being unusually tall for his age.

Anthony has been a basketball player since the fourth grade and played BCI and AAU and at on his school's team. His BCI team won third in the Nationals year before last. He admits that it was hard on him to have to give it up, but he realized that he does not have a choice. His team members have asked him to be manager for the basketball team and he has agreed.

Ashley played basketball for the elementary team this year. She was able to finish the season. Both Anthony and Ashley are honor roll students.

Anthony hopes the computer and Internet will help him in his studies. Anthony is still a little young to be making a career choice but he said he thinks he would like to be a computer engineer.

Both have been put on medication and have to go back every six months for check-ups.

"We are just not putting it all together," Mrs. Sims said. "Knowing about the condition will help us do the right things."

Right now there is no cure for the disorder but with careful medical management the prognosis is greatly improved for the disorder.

"We had never heard of Marfan sydrome before but several family members have suffered aneurysms and looking back, they had the signs of Marfan sydrome," Mrs. Sims said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: