Make-A-Wish Western New York has changed lives in our area.
It’s no different for a Lewiston boy, born with a life-threatening condition.
News 4 spoke with him and his family just hours before he received his big wish.
At first glace, Wes Ryan appears to be a normal, healthy boy.
“I like to play Frisbee, play with my stuffed animal named Pecan and I like to ride my bike because I just learned how to ride it with no training wheels,” said Wes.
It’s a proud accomplishment for any 7-year-old, but it’s an even bigger deal for Wes.
He had to fight hard to survive as a baby.
He spent 21 days on life support.
He was born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
His diaphragm didn’t close all the way in utero, so the organs from his abdomen traveled up into his chest cavity.
It stunted the growth of his lungs and shifted his heart to one side.
News 4 was there when Wes was released from the NICU after 106 days.
He endured 5 surgeries to fix his condition… and since then, he’s had even more.
“He’s on a medication 24 hours a day called Sub-Q Remodulin and that just keeps the arteries in his lungs open all day long,” said Wes’s mom Kylee.
Kylee says his condition at birth will affect him for the rest of his life.
Wes now has pulmonary hypertension as a result.
“He’s doing wonderful now. He’s been on this medicine for about 4 years now. It’s just become our normal routine our normal life. He has a site in his arm that Joel and I have to maintain. They usually last about 6-12 weeks sometimes they don’t last that long,” said Kylee.
Kylee says changing the sites is painful for Wes.
But, it’s made easier when he gets visits from Make-A-Wish Western New York.
They found out about the organization through a Facebook support group for other kids like Wes.
“For me, I hesitated on it because it’s not a last wish. So that was something that was harder for me to grasp. So I went ahead and did the application and he was approved — we got it,” said Kylee.
Originally, Wes asked for a trip to the Bahamas… but then the pandemic hit and plans changed.
Instead, Wes asked for something that brings more joy than a vacation.
He asked for a puppy.
“They can play with you and they can sleep with you… and we had a dog that died,” said Wes.
We asked Wes is he had a named picked out for his puppy.
“Well we’re thinking peanut butter… but we don’t really know,” said Wes.
Wes thought his puppy would come in April… but Make-A-Wish had a big surprise this week.
“Wes, She has a puppy!” said Wes’s sister Charlotte, when she realized Make-A-Wish was surprising the family early.
“Wes, what do you think? Should she stay home with us?” asked Kylee.
Shy at first, Wes warmed up to the bernedoodle puppy quickly.
A bernedoodle is a mix between a Bernese mountain dog and a poodle.
The Ryan family picked that breed because they’re gentle giants, and good with kids.
Wes decided against the original name he had picked and is sticking with the name the puppy came with — Whitney.
This special companion is a bittersweet wish come true, signifying a hard fought journey for a little boy with a lot of courage.