‘Just joy and happiness’: How Make-A-Wish Connecticut’s new Wishing Place helps families

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TRUMBULL, Conn. (WTNH) — A 9-year-old walking into Make-a-Wish Connecticut‘s new Wishing Place has been through so much, doing little during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nothing very much, just staying in my house and playing on my phone,” Dominic Cann, a Norwich boy with a rare, genetic disease that causes fevers and migraines, said.

“Dominic has pretty much been isolated in the house,” his mom Melissa said.

So, this is a much-needed day out.

“I’ve been told it’s a little bit Disney, a little bit Dave and Busters,” Pam Keough, CEO and president of Make-A-Wish Connecticut said. “It’s a place for our Wish Kids – current, future and alumni – to come and experience a place of hope and healing.”

After a custom snack in the kitchen, the kids pick an activity. For Dominic, it’s all about basketball and air hockey.

“When we heard about the opportunity to come here, I was really excited for Dominic,” Melissa said. She teared up several times in this beautiful controlled environment that follows hospital protocols. “Oh, just joy and happiness and seeing him happy.”

The organization granted Dominic’s wish in 2018 — a trip to Disney World. Melissa said the experience gave Dom, a shy boy, a voice.

“He was able to speak up, advocate for what he needed,” Melissa said.

“We always knew we wanted to extend the journey for these kids,” Pam said.

And that’s what the new Wishing Place does. Dom enjoyed the treehouse, getting a toy, and, simply, having fun.

“Just seeing him smile and act like a kid is the best gift I could ever have,” Melissa said.

The Wishing Place isn’t quite done. The organization is looking for more sponsors to help pull it all together in an effort to expand programs.

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