WAPAKONETA — A special delivery came Wednesday to Wapakoneta’s Harper Huelskamp, 5.
Her dream to go to school came true when Make A Wish Foundation officials delivered a miniature schoolhouse to her home. The daughter of Matt and Carrie Huelskamp cannot attend school.
Harper was diagnosed as a child with Dravet syndrome, also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy.
Harper’s neurology doctor, Dr. Jamie Twano, nominated her for the Wake A Wish program. Little Cottage Company, Berlin, Ohio, built the 8-by-12-foot wooden schoolhouse with red paint and white trim, school bell and a sign with Harper’s name on it. Make A Wish Foundation donated a table and chair, Legos and Lego table, a balance beam, desk organizer, decorative stickers, a school picture and sensory board.
Harper’s grandmother is Deb Casey. Her mom works full time in billing at Lima Memorial Health System and her dad is a farmer. She has two brothers, her twin, Maddox, and Dawson and two older siblings, Jayden and Madelynn. With the disease, her body cannot tolerate heat, sun, wind, bright lights, and loud noises. She wears a cooling vest when she goes outside because she can’t control her body temperature. She is non-verbal, but those who attended the delivery could tell she was excited about receiving the schoolhouse by the smile on her face.
Carrie said her daughter has hundreds of seizures a day and is at risk for a sudden unexpected death, but does not let that stop her from loving life.
“We live day to day, and every day we have with her is a blessing,” Carrie said. “It is a big milestone for Harper and gives her another place to go outside of the house to receive schooling and build on her learning skills.”
Harper had her first grand mal seizure April 22, 2015, when she had gotten out of the bathtub and the temperature change triggered her seizure.
Harper receives therapy three times a week from Lima Memorial Health System and will be home schooled.
Roberta Myers, Make A Wish Foundation granter, said the program allows those ages 2-1/2 to 17 to have time away from their illness to have a wish come true.
“When they receive their wish, they forget about their health problems and doctors,” Myers said. The foundation grants wishes to those who face life-long terminal and incurable challenges.
Harper’s father has plans to install a heating and cooling unit inside the schoolhouse and drywall the inside as well as install new flooring.
“I think this is exciting for her and she will be able to grow, learn and develop,” Matt said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.