By ASHLEY BERKERY
William “Reed” Johnson III is a rising seventh grader at Homewood Middle School who is enjoying a typical summer like most other kids his age. Except for one difference—he just received a once-in-a-lifetime Christmas gift in July, news that the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia and Alabama granted his wish trip to Puerto Rico in December.
Reed, who lives in Hollywood with his family, was born second in a triplet birth and was the smallest of the three, weighing just less than two pounds.
“He has been a fighter since the beginning,” said Reed’s mother, Lindsay Johnson. “He still fights daily to overcome obstacles due to his cerebral palsy but does it all with a huge smile.”
“Most ‘wish’ children apply for trips to Disney World or shopping sprees,” said Alabama Director for the Make-A-Wish Foundation John Sweeney, “but Reed’s wish was inspired by his weekly coffee dates with his dad, his love for watching Spanish cooking shows and fishing at his grandparents’ house.”
Reed’s wish will include cooking classes, trips to various coffee plantations and time to relax and fish.
Sweeney also said the Make-A-Wish Foundation is honored to have a recipient from Homewood, the community where the Alabama non-profit organization is based.
When asked what he is most looking forward to about his trip, Reed said that he is so excited to go with his brother and sister, Emma Clare and Bishop.
“We are practicing our Spanish and looking on the computer for fun things to do in Puerto Rico,” he said.
Reed’s mom says that he loves Mariachi bands and all of the bright colors in their clothing, as well as testing the recipes he sees on Spanish cooking shows.
Every Saturday morning, Reed wakes his dad up earlier than the rest of the family, and they have a special coffee date right in their own home.
“What fun to be able to experience a working coffee plantation,” said Reed’s father, William Johnson. “Although we live as if Reed is perfectly healthy, we are aware that there is an underlying problem that qualified him for this wish. We are so blessed and thankful for this trip and the memories we will make there as a family.”
The mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish Foundation creates memorable wish experiences for both child and family that are not clouded by financial concerns. The average cost of granting a wish in Alabama is $7,000.
For more information on the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia and Alabama or how to help, please visit www.ga-al.wish.org or call 205-254-WISH (9474).