“Wishes” Come True in North Iowa

Last Friday on TheFieldPosition, we shared about Enchanted Acres pumpkin patch hosting the inaugural Fall Ball to benefit Make-a-Wish Iowa. This week we’re going to tell you a behind-the-scenes story…

To any observer, it looked like the West Fork Dance Team was doing a good deed last Saturday when its members spent three solid hours painting adorable faces at the Make-a-Wish Iowa fundraiser. Few would realize that one of the team’s members is actually a Wish Kid.

West Fork Dance Team members did an awesome job of painting faces!

West Fork Dance Team members did an awesome job of painting faces!

Madisyn Harper, daughter of Glen and Kaci Harper of Sheffield, was born with a heart defect call Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). Her sister Samantha, who is one year older, also was born with ASD. Samantha’s defect was repaired with two surgeries. Madisyn’s defect, however, was one of the most difficult ASD cases because her heart had only one upper chamber instead of two.

Just 14 weeks old when she had her first open heart surgery, Madisyn endured 11 more surgeries including the implantation of a biventricular pacemaker. Despite these medicial efforts, her heart function significantly declined the summer before she started 7th grade. Madisyn was placed on a transplant list, and the call the Harper family had been anxiously waiting for months finally came.

Madisyn was rushed into surgery on March 20, 2013, and her new heart gave her a new lease on life. Now Madisyn is the active high school Junior that she and her parents and dreamed she would become.

“Make-a-Wish is so dear to us because a wish was granted to Madisyn back in 2011,” says Kaci Harper. Madisyn’s wish came true, and her family experienced Disney magic for her 11th birthday.

Because Make-a-Wish is such a huge part of their lives, the Harper family enjoys giving back. Madisyn volunteers every year at the Make-a-Wish golf tournament. She and Samantha also donate Thirty-One® bags to the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minn. For all her efforts, Madisyn received a “Volunteer of the Year” award from Make-a-Wish Iowa.

Harper fam2014“The best thing about Make-a-Wish is it gives kids and parents the gift of not worrying about the medical condition or crisis they are facing at that moment! Instead, they have something to look forward to,” explains Kaci. “A Wish Trip gives families a break from doctors’ appointments and the constant battle of the daily struggles they face.”

Thank you to the more than 330 North Iowans who attended last Saturday’s event in support of Make-a-Wish Iowa! Special thanks to Mort’s Water of Latimer for sponsoring the bounce house and to Latham Hi-Tech Seeds for helping underwrite event costs. Together, we raised more than $1,600 for the charity.

Last Saturday’s event also helped increase awareness for this important charity. It may surprise you to learn there are at least 80 Make-a-Wish families in North Central Iowa alone! In addition to Madisyn, last summer a wish was granted to a Dumont boy with cancer. Another boy from Greene recently returned from a Wish Trip to LegoLand.

So you see, wishes come true. They can come true for people in your own community!

Barbecue Chicken


Brown chicken and 1 onion, chopped.
2 T. vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
1 C. catsup
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
½ T. mustard
1 C. water
Salt to taste


Pour over browned chicken. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours.