A brand new racetrack made of concrete was made specially for soon-to-be 5-year-old Kiko, complete with traffic signs and striped with his favorite colors, blue and white.
Until now, Kiko — who has a neurological illness that causes him to be wheelchair-bound — had limited access to play in his backyard.
“It was kind of like gravel and dirt and sand in the backyard and so it wasn’t easy for a wheelchair to access their very large backyard,” Make-A-Wish New Mexico Program Assistant Marissa Gonzales said.
The big reveal of his early birthday surprise Wednesday night was made possible through Make-A-Wish New Mexico’s “Kids for Wish Kids” program, in which 10 high schools across the state take part to help make dreams come true for children who have medical conditions.
“Seeing the joy on his face — and almost like magic — and having the family kept saying how life-changing this was going to be for him,” Gonzales said.
“Wishes take more than magic, they take muscle and they take the muscle of donors and volunteers,” stated Make-A-Wish New Mexico Interim CEO Sydney Graczyk.
La Cueva High School has a Make-A-Wish club. Students raised the money for Kiko’s backyard makeover last fall during ‘Wish Week,’ which was magical in its own right.
“Part of that Wish Week was Kiko went to their homecoming football game and a lot of the fundraising is done there,” Gonzales said.
A child can be referred by a medical professional, parent or guardian, or the “Wish child” themselves for the program.
This year, Make-A-Wish New Mexico expects to grant 105 wishes to kids throughout the state. They say they can do that because of help from high schoolers.
The following New Mexico schools participate in Kids for Wish Kids:
Manzano Mesa Elementary
Edward Gonzales Elementary
Sandia High School
Cleveland High School