Poplar Grove girl receives surprise of a lifetime thanks to Make-A-Wish


POPLAR GROVE, Ill. (WTVO) — A little girl in Poplar Grove got the surprise of a lifetime this weekend. Friends, family, and volunteers worked their magic to grant her wish.

“With Reed’s condition, she has a hard time with being out in the sun for a long time, and we don’t have a space to keep her in as well, a fence, so we decided, and she really wanted it, was a backyard makeover,” said Logan Johnson, Reed’s dad.

A playhouse, an awning, and a shaded picnic table mean that two-year-old Reed Johnson can now play outside safely, following some help from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“Reed’s going to love playing in the backyard daily when it’s good weather. She’s just going to love it. There’s a swingset at my in-laws right now, and she always plays on it everytime she’s over at their house, so she’s really going to enjoy it,” Johnson said.

Shortly after her first birthday, Reed was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called dravet syndrome. The condition means she experiences frequent seizures and other health problems.

“I can’t even account how many times I’ve had to ride in an ambulance to the emergency room,” said Johnson.

Laura Hager is a first-time volunteer with the Make-A-Wish foundation who helped organize the backyard makeover. She says her daughter was granted a wish when she was four years old and she wanted to make dreams come true for another family.

“We felt, my husband and I, that by kind of giving back, in a sense, to the community, and we feel that we can really relate to parents that are going through some of these things as well, that this was just a great, humbling opportunity for us to be a part of this,” Hager said

Friends, family, and Make-A-Wish volunteers spent Saturday afternoon putting everything together while Reed was out with her mother and siblings.

When she came back home, she was greeted with a parade led by North Boone Fire engines before the big reveal.

“It’s crazy to see kids, she just bounces back every time during all of this. Everything that’s thrown her way, whether it’s being poked and prodded with these IVs and every time she has to have these visits, she just takes it with an open heart. She’s really great with everything,” her father added.


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