Essex Junction Teen Gets Puppy from Foundation
Sixteen years ago, Emily Deibler needed a liver transplant. She was just three months old when doctors discovered the issue, and at nine months, her father Kyle stepped in and donated part of his liver to save her life.
Emily's mother says that after the transplant, things were rough for several years, but eventually Emily's health improved and she was able to live a normal life.
Last fall, however, her health took a turn and complications with her liver resurfaced. Much of the past year, the Deibler family traveled back and forth from Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York City, where Emily went through multiple procedures and interventions to save her life.
It was during this time that her care providers explored connecting Emily with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which has granted more than 110,000 wishes for children with serious illnesses since it was founded in 1980.
Emily found out that she was getting a wish back in October, and her parents said that from the start, she wanted a puppy.
"She did not veer from that choice," her mother Mindy told us. "There were plenty of opinions in our house trying to steer her toward a tropical vacation [laughs] and she didn't budge."
According to her family, Emily has always loved animals, so it only made sense that her wish would be a puppy.
"Knowing Emily's heart and how connected she is to animals and to dogs in particular, just to be able to think about her having Bailey on her lap during those hard times... it means everything," Mindy said.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation says the puppy will serve as so much more than just a pet.
"When they see their puppy, they think of Make-A-Wish," said Jamie Hathaway, President of Make-A-Wish Vermont. "They remember that people are with them, they're not alone, and that there's love and support and a network around them wherever they go."
Emily also received everything she'll need to take care of Bailey - a dog bed, food, a carrying crate and toys.
Emily's mother said her health has been better in recent months, and the family is excited to welcome Bailey into their home.