EVANSTON — A 3-year-old Evanston boy with multicystic kidney disease will soon take a trip to Walt Disney World with his family, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Family and friends gathered to celebrate with Tyn Burdess at Hamblin Park on Saturday, April 28, as volunteers with the foundation officially announced the trip.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation will pay the cost of flights, accommodations, meals, and travel in Florida for the family of four. The foundation will also provide babysitting during a date night for Tyn’s parents, Tyson and Megan Burdess.
Tyn’s troubles started before his birth, when doctors told Tyson and Megan that there were complications with their unborn child. They were told to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. When Tyn was born, he was diagnosed with multicystic kidney disease, and the family and doctors prepared for a kidney transplant as soon as Tyn was grown enough. While many in the family were willing, Tyn’s father was selected as the donor.
After a methodical series of tests, doctors found that Tyson’s kidneys are a near perfect match for Tyn.
“I was born with his kidney,” Tyson jokes. “I was just keeping it warm.”
In August 2016, Tyson went into surgery at the University of Utah Hospital where his kidney was removed. The doctor who removed the kidney went straight from that surgery, carried the kidney to Primary Children’s Hospital, and installed the kidney in Tyn.
“It actually went pretty slick,” Tyson said.
Throughout the process the Burdesses have felt the support of their family and community. Both Megan and Tyson’s families participated in fundraising efforts through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, which eased the burden of paying the medical costs of the transplant.
Now age 3, Tyn is an active and happy boy, but his life is and will continue to be impacted by the restrictions that come with caring for his kidney, including dietary requirements, medications and the likelihood that he will need another kidney transplant someday. It was because of these lifestyle challenges that the Burdess’ social worker at the University of Utah Hospital recommended them to Make-A-Wish.
Megan described her reaction to learning they qualified for Make-A-Wish.
“I bawled my eyes out because I thought Make-A-Wish was for kids with cancer, and kids that weren’t going to survive or that had a short life,” she said. “So I was kind of devastated.”
She soon learned that the program is for any child who has a life-altering sickness or disease. Despite initial reservations, Megan and Tyson decided to accept the foundation’s offer to fulfill Tyn’s wish.
The family was contacted by Amy Kelly, one of the Make-A-Wish volunteers in Evanston. Kelly visited the family, got to know Tyn and learned that he wished to take his older sister, Navy, to Disney World.
“I think he’d be lost without his sister,” Tyson said of Tyn’s relationship with Navy. When asked, Navy said she is most excited to find Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen.”
Megan said Tyn is more excited about flying in an airplane than anything.