After he was born, Emery did not receive a hopeful prognosis.
Following a delivery complication, doctors predicted he would remain in a persistent vegetative state. However, due to early intervention and a fighting spirit, Emery has defied the odds. Although still limited in mobility and speech, Emery sits with assistance, rolls from room to room of his home, and mimics sounds and words. He increasingly shows signs of a desire to connect with his family and is learning to work with a school iPad program that helps him communicate.
"He is just an incredible boy," said Emery's mom. "He has a fun personality, and when anyone meets him, they light up. He doesn't speak, but he's got such a big personality."
Enjoying sound and light immersion, Emery loves interactive, musical television programs like Yo Gabba Gabba!. He also likes family gatherings with his many cousins and shines with joy whenever he sees them. However, Emery's absolute happiest state is when he spends time outdoors.
Even as an infant, Emery responded most to adventurous outings or car rides. Once, while Emery was still small enough for his car seat, his parents took him on an off-road Jeep trip throughout Moab National Park. Emery squealed and laughed through every bump of the ride! Time outdoors helps Emery manage the emotional complications of his condition. For instance, when Emery is experiencing irritability as a side effect of a new medication or therapy, one cure is to jump in the car and head out to hike a trail. Until he grew too big, his parents took turns carrying Emery on these hikes.
As Emery has grown, it has become more difficult for his family to navigate outdoor adventures. The COVID pandemic further limited their options to engage with Emery outdoors. When Make-A-Wish Utah stepped in, all of that changed,
Upon learning that Emery was qualified to receive a wish, Emery's parents seized the opportunity to enhance and expand his life – with a wish for an off-road wheelchair.
In June, Emery's family, friends, and several community members dawned facemask and lined the street outside of A Wishing Place, eager to see Emery's wish granted. Murray City Fire escorted Emery and his family via firetruck through the street as participants waved him on. Emery enjoyed listening to the sirens and people cheering—he was all smiles throughout the day.
"It was so fun, and a major blessing for us to see his friends and family come to support Emery and show their love," said Emery's mom. "Also, to see that there are people that are loving and generous enough to make a difference in someone's life. He is a hero and his wish day was a fun way of celebrating him as a person."
Once at A Wishing Place, Emery was presented with his new all-terrain wheelchair, empowering him to handle grass, dirt, sand, mud, snow, and even float in the water! "Before we had this chair, if we wanted to go to the beach with family or something like that, we may have had to say 'no' because we couldn't have gotten him through the sand," Emery's mom explained. "This changes a lot for him. Now, he can be included—sledding in the snow, swimming at a reservoir, we can plan to include him in all of that. (Emery's wish) was emotional for us. It means a lot to know that our boy has more of a chance to be included. That's all we want for him is to be happy and feel included."
Although COVID-19 has restricted the family's travel plans, they are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to take him on new trails through Moab and other national parks.
"Even just sitting in his new chair, he gets excited," said Emery's mom. "You can tell he is in tune with what's going on around him. If I put him in his chair, that means we are going to go out, so he shows that he's excited."
Make-A-Wish Utah delivered essential hope to Emery and his family. With your partnership, we can grant meaningful, unique wishes for every eligible child referred to us.