DOWLING, Mich. -- The Make-A-Wish Foundation presented young Ayden Jones with the tree house of his dreams Saturday afternoon.
Ayden's parents took him to urgent care after a battle with pneumonia and the flu that wasn't getting better. He was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia, a cancer causing his bone marrow to make abnormal blood cells.
Ayden's condition and intense treatment qualified him for a wish from Make-A-Wish Michigan. Samantha Jones, Ayden's mom, said the 8 year-old never wavered on his wish. "...He immediately went and started writing out a blueprint. He drew his own little tree house and what he wanted in it.”
It's been a long journey. His treatment became so demanding, Ayden needed to be home-schooled and went through physical therapy to learn to walk again. The family traveled from home to Helen Devos Children's Hospital every day.
“He got down to about 45 pounds." Samantha told FOX 17. "He had to go through physical therapy. He couldn’t walk. He had no strength and he was a very active kid before that ... riding his bike, playing sports.”
The Jones family worked with A.J Veneklasen, Inc. to build the tree house. "...we had kind of a crazy winter but we knew we wanted to get this tree house done before June 1 for the big reveal and Aydan’s birthday.” Kalena Meeker of A.J. Veneklasen, Inc. said of the project. Ayden is already planning his birthday party at the end of the month - surrounded by all of his friends, up in his new tree house.
Meeker said their whole crew wanted to have a hand in the project. "...it was all hands on deck. It took a couple weeks. We built a part of it in-house ... we shipped it out here and everyone just wanted to be a huge part of this.”
Ayden's dad, Kyle Jones, was grateful for everything Make-A-Wish Michigan and A.J. Veneklasedn, Inc. did for his son and their family. “This is something that’s given him hope for so long and really motivated him to push through, so even whenever it was just ... making the trips to the hospital as something to look forward to.”
Make-A-Wish Michigan has granted more than 10,000 wishes since its inception in 1984 and expects to grant 450 wishes this year to Michigan children.