Burien Family Pays It Forward By Making Other Wishes Possible; Fundraiser Is Aug. 16th

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Who knew that when Burien resident Cassidy Huff took a step onstage with the Rascal Flatts, the chart-topping country rock band, that she would later be taking a step in the right direction to help other kids just like herself?

Cassidy, a 7-year old Make-A-Wish Foundation wish recipient, has teamed up with her mom (Shannon) and sister (Ella) to “pay it forward” and give back to the organization which helped her realize her wish by participating in the Foundation’s Walk for Wishes.

Cassidy had always belted out Rascal Flatts’ songs into her hair brush and so it came as no surprise that she chose to meet them and attend their concert as her wish in April of 2008.The night that Cassidy will never forget began with a candlelit dinner with her favorite band member, Jay DeMarcus, where she was able to ask him lots of questions and joke around with him. Later, Cassidy was pulled from her front row seat onto the stage when the band handed her a microphone and she sang her heart out to thousands of adoring fans.

Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus and his biggest fan, Cassidy Huff.

According to her Mom, Shannon Huff:

Cassidy was born with a rare genetic condition called Conradi-Hunermann Syndrome. It affects her spine so she has scoliosis and kyphosis for which she has two VEPTR’s (titanium ribs) to help keep her spine straighter. She has limb length issues. Her right side is shorter and she wears a lift on her shoe for now.

Her vision has now been corrected in her right eye. She had a very severe cataract in that eye that has now been replaced with a lens. We call it the bionic eye!

She also has some patchy alopecia.

Cassidy also has some hearing loss in her left ear. This has been corrected with a hearing aid that she wears most days.

Cassidy is 7! She has had 22 surgeries to date with more to come.

We do have our own blog that I keep updated: www.caringbridge.org/visit/cassidyhuff

Cassidy got to hang out with the band backstage.

Fast forward almost a year and a half later, as the Make-A-Wish Foundation plans its inaugural Walk for Wishes fundraiser on Sunday, August 16th at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Cassidy and her Burien family are now giving back by setting up a fundraising team for the Walk and are hoping to inspire many others to do the same. On the day of the event, Cassidy and her family, along with other wish families and supporters, will participate in the family-friendly 5k to raise funds and awareness of the Foundation.

You can help by making a donation on their team webpage by going to www.walkforwishes.kintera.org/Washington and selecting the sponsor a participant link. From there, type in “Shannon Huff” and make your donation.

“Cassidy has been an inspiration to those she has come in contact with, and the Foundation appreciates all that she has endured and her courage to help other kids who are living with their own hardships,” said Jeannette Tarcha, communications director at the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Alaska, Montana, Northern Idaho and Washington grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since its inception in 1986, the chapter has granted 4,000 wishes to children in the Pacific Northwest and will grant 291 wishes this year alone. For more information about the Foundation, including how you can help share the power of a wish contact them at 800.304.WISH or visit our Web site at www.northwestwishes.org.

And be sure to read Shannon’s blog about Cassidy here:


[EDITOR’S NOTE: I was lucky enough to participate in a few Make-A-Wish moments while working in Hollywood, and I can say that there’s not much else that’s legal that can make you feel as good as it feels to help one of these kids.]

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