NCL: If Wishes Were Horses...

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If turnips were watches, I would wear one by my side.

— Mother Goose

Sometimes, wishes are horses. Having a horse was Catie Allio’s dream, and the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation made it happen. When Catie, who is now 16, was 12, she was given a horse named Desi. It was a dream come true.

For Kathy Allio, Catie’s mom, wishes have taken on a different perspective. After Catie and her sister Annie, 7, were diagnosed with Batten Disease, Kathy learned to wish one day at a time.

“It may sound strange,” said Kathy, “but in many ways, we have learned to appreciate some of the things some people may take for granted, like even a hug or a simple conversation.”

Catie’s diagnosis took several years. “It was an emotional, time-consuming, and laborious experience,” said Kathy. “Our wish is that others who are faced with Batten Disease can learn about it right away and get the support they need.”

Kathy, who is a homeschool teacher, wants – or maybe needs – to teach others what she has learned about it. She is active in the Northern California chapter of the Batten Disease Support and Research Association, and readily makes herself available to other families.

When Nancy Hynie was trying to find out what was going on with her daughter Jessie, 11, it took two years and an ophthalmologist who made inquiries on an internet discussion group before they came up with a diagnosis.

Nancy, who is a practicing veterinarian, is eager to read Dr. Katz’s publications on the canine equivalent to Batten Disease. Her wish is that the research with Tibetan Terriers will lead to findings that will help in the diagnosis or treatment of Batten kids.

When Jessie Hynie learns that she will be photographed with the therapy dogs at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, she asks if she can also get a portrait of herself with her dog Angel. Kathy Allio asks for a portrait of just her two girls. Photographer Kersti Malvre is pleased to comply with both wishes.

For some kids, getting their own horse is a dream come true. And for some parents, just having a good day, or being able to help other parents cope, is a wish fulfilled.

(Permission to Post Granted to BCSA)