The Why Behind Wy’s Rides
Wyatt was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma at the ripe old age of 9 months. It was one of those times when we counted our blessings early and often.
We were blessed to have a pediatrician who caught Wyatt’s condition immediately, we lived near Johns Hopkins, we were given the greatest medical team ever (objectively speaking of course), and we were surrounded by the constant support and prayers from our family and friends throughout the world.
We spent a great deal of Wy’s first year (103 days) in the hospital (37 of which were spent in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). That’s where we hunted for Easter eggs, celebrated birthdays, gave thanks for some turkey and met Kris Kringle himself!
Wyatt went through six rounds of chemo, a tumor resection, a bone marrow transplant, 14 rounds of radiation, and he capped it all off with six rounds of immunotherapy.
One thing we learned quickly was that Wyatt’s happiness was directly related to him getting out of the room whenever we were hospitalized. So for his first birthday Wy got a remote controlled car to cruise around in.
Today’s IV poles have got a lot going on. Between computerized pumps and 24-hour medication cycles, taking a little guy for a wagon or car ride requires two adults (one behind the wheel and one to monitor the pole itself).
So not long after Wyatt ripped the bow off his first set of wheels his dad, Bryan, designed a retrofitted hitch from PVC pipe and rope that allowed for Wyatt to go on rides with just one other adult safely (a major concern for someone that is getting chemo pumped into their body through a port or central line).
Wyatt cruised for miles around Hopkins in his car with that first hitch. His doctors would joke about how little they saw us on the oncology floor.
We saw first hand what a wagon or car ride did for Wyatt. It kept him from falling into a spiral of depression – a miracle in and of itself considering what he was going through. Wyatt could have cared less that he was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. There were countless times when he would get sick only to rush back to his car and demand to keep cruising.
Wyatt rang his remission bell on his second birthday, March 22, 2017.
Today he’s a riot, a car junky, and fearless two-year old. More importantly, he’s hands down the best teacher and muse we’ve ever met. He’s our miracle and evidence that positivity goes miles towards recovery.
How We Got Rolling
This all started as a pay back to Wyatt’s team of nurses, doctors, and specialists at Johns Hopkins.
There really was – and still is – no way to adequately say, ”thank you for saving our son’s life.” But for Wy’s second birthday we organized a fundraiser donating all of the funds towards building a set of wagons with retrofitted IV hitches that allowed one adult (a nurse or child life specialist or parent) to take a child for a wagon ride. The design was based off Bryan’s original hitch.
And Wy’s Rides was born.
Our initial five wagons were delivered to Johns Hopkins in September 2017 and are towing a whole new group of rockstar pediatric patients in and around the halls of the Bloomberg tower.