Alabama community grants wish of 12-year-old cancer survivor

Hometown Heroes

SOMERVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — After waiting nearly nine months, the Make A Wish Foundation, along with several community businesses, helped Kimberly McCormick’s dreams come true.

She was given the gift of her very own greenhouse.

“It was insane, I can’t even describe it,” Kimberly said. Her face and eyes lit up when her parents removed her mask to reveal her very own greenhouse. Overcome by emotions, Kimberly’s eyes filled up with tears as her parents hugged her and she mouthed, “Wow.”

Community members, family, and representatives of the Make A Wish Foundation were all there cheering and holding posters and banners.

Getting to this moment was not an easy journey for the McCormick family. A little over a year ago, their little girl was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, a rare, aggressive, and fast-moving cancer. Kimberly was rushed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, where she and her mother would spend the next six months.

She spent most of that time in bed, undergoing rounds of chemotherapy and three major operations. But one thing was always on her mind. “She’s always loved planting, while she was in the hospital she would draw and color plants,” her father John McCormick said.

Kimberly has had a passion for planting since before she could talk.

“It’s something that I’ve always been interested in, I never really liked going to the store to buy fruits and vegetables because it tastes so much better when you grow it, so I’ve always just done that.”

When Kimberly had her Wish Discovery Visit with the foundation, Tracy Smith, CEO of Make A Wish Alabama said it was clear as day as to what her wish was.

“Her face just lit up when she started talking about planting and how she talked about how she loved to eat vegetables, and eat fruits, and take the seeds and plant them. So you could tell that that was such a passion, and she’s so incredibly knowledgeable about that. So when she said, ‘I would love to have a greenhouse’, we said, ‘you know that would be a good wish.’”

Lacy Fitzpatrick, with the North Alabama Chamber of the foundation, immediately starting reaching out to community members to figure out how to make this possible. Leila Moorehouse with Eagle Rising reached out to Reseda Nursery and Encore Landscaping.

“Too easy, it was immediately in my brain. I knew who I wanted to talk to, who I wanted to ask,” Moorehouse said.

After a couple of months of planning and just two days of work, the greehouse was done.

For two days, Kimberly and her mother stayed at a friend’s house nearby; the secret was well hidden, but when asked she said, “I knew there was something kind of going on,” but she wasn’t expecting this.

Cynthia McCormick says foundations like this are what help children get through their battles, and that all kids are deserving of something special. When kids are in the hospital, they’re anxious and begin to think of their dreams, and her daughter has a different outlook on life.

“If I live and I survive this, what can I do with my dreams, and so her dream is to grow, and she loves to see that life starts and begins and she loves the concept of harvesting the things that she’s nurtured.”

The McCormicks couldn’t be filled with more gratitude and appreciation.

“We have forever friends, and forever family, thank you very very much, it was incredible to watch everything come together.”

The first plant Kimberly plans to plant: Dragon fruit.

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