Thirteen-year-old Jarred Wise, who is recovering from a bout with leukemia, had a reason to smile Thursday afternoon as he descended to his family's basement.
Side by side with his parents, Lee and Mike Wise, Jarred witnessed the fulfillment of a process that began in March, 2011, when the Make-A-Wish foundation, in conjunction with Broyhill Furniture and Appliance Center, a Maumee retailer, agreed to grant Jarred's wish to turn his family's basement into an Ohio State-themed "man cave."
To keep the room's final look a surprise, Jarred's family spent Wednesday night at the Holiday Inn Perrysburg-French Quarter while volunteers finished the basement's renovation.
Jarred smiled as he looked at the room's setup, which includes new drywall, flooring, furniture, and Ohio State gear that could satisfy any diehard Buckeye fan. The basement now sports an OSU-themed paint job, along with posters, banners, and autographed football memorabilia. But the clear centerpiece is a 73-inch flat-screen television, which Jarred said is the first thing he plans to use in the new basement.
The eighth grader at Anthony Wayne Junior High School said he wished for a new basement so that he would have a space to share with his family and fellow patients at Toledo Children's Hospital.
"I wanted something to share, not just keep to myself," he said.
Mrs. Wise said that they had extended an invitation to other children in the hospital to come use the basement in the family's Whitehouse home.
Also present were Jarred's older brother, Matt, and several cousins, all of whom visited Jarred frequently in the hospital, Mrs. Wise said. "They'll definitely have fun down here," she said.
Broyhill Furniture has committed to 50 such "wish" room renovations this year, said Phil Garner, a sales representative with the company.
"[Jarred's] initial wish," recalled Mrs. Wise, "was to give something to other children who were worse off than him, but he was told that's not how it works."
Jarred also volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and participates in the Relay for Life, Mrs. Wise said.
Jarred's mother said that he has undergone chemotherapy and spinal taps, and she described his condition as "nearly cured." He no longer requires chemotherapy and will cease taking medication in October.
Jarred's wish is one of 80 that the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana plan to grant this year for children ages 2 1/2 to 17 in northwest Ohio who suffer from life-threatening medical conditions, said Kimberly Ray, the program manager for Make-A-Wish in Toledo.
Contact Casey Sumner at: email@example.com or 419-724-6084.