Shopping Spree Brightens DSCC Toddler’s Holiday

December 21st, 2020

Shyterria Jordan pushes a decorated shopping cart with her son T'Aubrae and his big brother inside during a shopping spree

Make-A-Wish organizes a car parade, limo ride and shopping spree for 3-year-old T’Aubrae

The year 2020 has been especially challenging for Shyterria Jordan and her children.

Her 3-year-old son, T’Aubrae, has complex medical needs. He was in the hospital for more than a month earlier this year. T’Aubrae then stayed at the transitional care center Almost Home Kids for another three months.

Safety precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic meant T’Aubrae’s two older siblings couldn’t visit him while he was away from home.

“He loves his brother and sister to death,” Shyterria said. “To go weeks or months without seeing them made it really hard. It was definitely the most difficult thing I’ve dealt with.”

The news that Make-A-Wish Illinois would grant T’Aubrae’s wish brought much-needed joy for the whole family.

On Dec. 5, the foundation partnered with the Peoria community to organize a  parade with local firefighters, police, classic cars and hot rods in front of the family’s home. The family then got to ride in a limo for a shopping spree at various stores. The trip also included a stop at a local park and a special visit with Santa.

3-year-old T'Aubrae smiles as he watches a special community parade in his honor

Local media covered the special day and T’Aubrae’s excitement.

“I never thought we would experience something like this,” Shyterria said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the kids were so excited.”

T’Aubrae was born with short bowel syndrome, meaning his body doesn’t have enough small intestine to absorb enough nutrients from the foods he eats.

He has a feeding tube and receives in-home nursing care. T’Aubrae has been enrolled with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) for more than two years.

His condition has resulted in multiple surgeries and hospitalizations.

“He’s doing great right now. We’re just trying to keep him out of the hospital for as long as we can,” Shyterria said “He’s just a very outgoing kid and full of energy. Overall, he’s a wonderful kid and he’s a very strong boy…. I’ve learned a lot from him.”

She said T’Aubrae enjoyed the noise of the sirens during his special parade and was delighted to go shopping. He picked out toys and items for his bedroom. His brother and sister also got to pick out two toys each for themselves.

“I know he’s going to have a great Christmas,” Shyterria said.

T’Aubrae loves cars, so Make-A-Wish also gave the family tickets for the Peoria Speedway and racecar t-shirts.

“It was a very, very great experience. (Make-A-Wish is) a blessing to this world to do something like that,” Shyterria said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something that he will never forget.”

You can see pictures and videos from T’Aubrae’s special wish day in the news stories below:

DSCC “Angel” Helps Teen’s Wish Come True

June 7th, 2019

Care Coordination in Action text with DSCC logo

Division of Specialized Care for Children participant Trenten Jankuski has a special vacation and accessible home, thanks to Care Coordinator Angel Lawrence’s efforts.

Angel Lawrence is a Care Coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC). A big part of this job involves connecting families with the right services and resources to support their children with special healthcare needs. Sometimes, a seemingly simple connection can make a dream come true.

Such was the case for Trenten Jankuski, a 16-year-old DSCC participant with cerebral palsy.

More than two years ago, Angel started working closely with Trenten’s family to help make their home more accessible.

The Jankuskis live in a bi-level home. It made sense for Trenten’s therapy needs to move his living space to the home’s lower level. However, Trenten’s power wheelchair could not access the lower level.

Angel got to work seeking bids from vendors who could examine the house and determine what modifications would be necessary. Angel enlisted the help of UIC’s Assistive Technology Unit, which determined that an elevator would be the best option for the home and Trenten’s wheelchair. The elevator, however, would have a high price tag.

Angel then started checking for funding sources and grant opportunities. After months of effort, she helped the Jankuskis receive a grant from the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services to cover most of the elevator’s costs. Angel also contacted Make-A-Wish Illinois and the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation to see if any assistance was available.

The Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation was able to provide the remaining funds needed for the elevator, which was installed in March.

But the Make-A-Wish Foundation took an interest in Trenten’s story and contacted his mother to set up an interview in February. A trip to Disney World for his whole family was soon in the works for the avid Disney fan.

On March 15, local Make-A-Wish granters met Trenten’s parents at his high school to surprise him and announce the special vacation would start that Sunday. The Kankakee Daily Journal newspaper was there to capture the fun announcement. You can read the Daily Journal’s coverage on the newspaper’s website.

Angel said she’s delighted to see Trenten, his parents and his siblings have this special getaway together.

“This is an opportunity for them as a family to really enjoy one another in a fun atmosphere, away from the reality of day-to-day life,” she said. “They can enjoy a real vacation.”

We’re grateful for Angel’s hard work to help this very deserving family. Congratulation to Trenten and all of the Jankuskis!







Make-A-Wish Helps DSCC Family Hit the Road Together

August 29th, 2018

A special trailer makes travel possible for 5-year-old DSCC participant and her family.

Traveling with young children can be challenging, especially if your child has a complex medical condition.

The Taylor family has foregone family vacations for years because of their daughter’s special needs.

Erin, 5, has Down syndrome, a seizure disorder and other health issues that require numerous medical supplies and equipment to keep her safe. She and her family receive support from UIC’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC).

When Erin became eligible for a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Taylors picked something to create new experiences and opportunities they could all enjoy as a family. The Taylors received their new travel trailer earlier this week.

“It’s amazing to know that we can now go and enjoy these things because before this, we actually had to leave Erin at home with nurses or family because we couldn’t take her. So, this is amazing,” Erin’s mom, Autumn Taylor, told WICA 3 News.

You can watch the full story of Erin’s special wish on the WCIA 3 News website.

Congratulations to the Taylors. We wish you many fun adventures!


DSCC Teen’s Princess Dream Comes True

May 30th, 2017

News story captures Trinity’s special send-off to Disney World.

Trinity Alston always wanted to be a princess. Thanks to Make-A-Wish, she and her family recently traveled to “The Most Magical Place on Earth” to make her dream come true.

Trinity, 15, has a structural defect in her brain called Chiari malformation, which causes brain tissue to extend into her spinal canal. She is quadriplegic and non-verbal and uses a computer to speak with her family and caretakers.

Rockford’s 23 WIFR news station covered the community’s special send-off for Trinity, including a motorcycle escort, before she and her relatives boarded a plane to Disney World in April.

For nearly 10 years, Trinity and her family have received support through the Home Care Program, operated by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children on behalf of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

We are thrilled to see Trinity receive the royal treatment she deserves!