Youth with rare illness granted wish

By on July 30, 2009

By Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The Sheehan family’s Elburn backyard looks a lot different than it did a month ago, when Kids Wish Network arranged for the installation of a huge swimming pool. For Caden Sheehan, 10, who suffers from a serious illness, life is much different, too.

Now, Caden and his siblings, Jacob, 13, and Brenna, 6, can cool off, swim and romp in the water anytime they want. During recent hot weather, the pool was well-used.

“We went in it every day,” Caden said.

The gift came about after the Kids Wish Network called his aunt, Liz Ruzick of Plano, a fundraiser for the organization, asking if she knew of a child who might benefit from having a wish granted. She told the fundraiser of her nephew, Caden, and his struggle with a life-threatening illness.

Kids Wish Network contacted Caden’s parents Lily and Jim Sheehan, to offer to grant his wish.

Caden has chronic intestinal pseudo obstruction, a rare disorder that slows digestion and can cause blockages. For Caden, having this disorder has meant four intestinal surgeries and constant intestinal problems. He is often nauseous and has very weak muscle tone.

“He has been in and out of occupational and physical therapy,” Lily said.

Caden has to receive 75 percent of his nutrition in liquid form through a G-tube in a portal on his chest. Luckily, the tiny portal does not prevent him from swimming.

Caden’s mom said he was thrilled when he learned his wish would be granted.

“He was like, ‘Wow, it’s terrible that I have this (illness), but then to get something like this, for them to give that to me…’ He was just very excited, very impressed,” Lily said.

Caden’s mom is glad he chose the pool. She said not only will it offer lasting entertainment for him, but a fun form of exercise to strengthen his muscles.

“It will be great physical therapy for him,” Lily said.

Jim said the organization would give Caden anything he wanted, within reason. At first, Caden could not decide what he wanted most.

“He went back and forth. He had a couple of other choices, as far as his wish,” said his dad, Jim Sheehan.

Initially Caden wanted to meet an actor from “High School Musical,” then he was thinking of going to Legoland in California, and finally he decided on the pool.

Caden decided on the pool because the fun would last a lot longer than a trip or meeting a celebrity.

“He said, ‘A pool is something that I can use all the time; if I go to Legoland, that’s just four days,’” Lily said.

Businesses helped make it happen
Several area businesses and individuals contributed time and materials last month to install the swimming pool that Kids Wish Network gave to 10-year-old Caden Sheehan of Elburn:
• Swim ‘n’ Play
• Peterson Pool Service and Supply
• W.M. Olsen Inc.
• Russell Automotive
• Martin Overstreet
• Jim and Marylin Swift
• Todd Martin
• Weiland Excavating
• Al Hint Trucking
• James Self
• KW Electric
• Lowe’s

Photo: Caden Sheehan took a dip Saturday in the swimming pool that Kids Wish Network had installed in the Elburn youth’s backyard in June. The organization granted the wish for Caden, who suffers from a rare digestive disorder.
Photo by Martha Quetsch