Max Williams learns wishes do come true

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Lives snowboarding dream

By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Max Williams is a rarity.

He was born 11 years ago with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital defect where the left ventricle of the heart is underdeveloped. 

One in 4,344 babies is born with the disorder and Max’s mom, Erin, knew what she and her husband, Darius, were going to face when an ultrasound showed the abnormality when she was 18 weeks pregnant.

In his short life, Max has endured everything from feeding tubes to oxygen an a series of surgeries from his birth to age three. 

When the family moved from Ohio to Florida in 2008, they sought the best doctors for their son and found them at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. 

Five years later the hospital put the Make a Wish Foundation in touch with the family and a year long process began to help the rare little boy achieve one of his dreams.

“Wish granters came to talk to Max alone,” Erin said. “They wanted to find out what he wanted.”

“I asked for bodyguards,” Max said, “a real basketball court at my house or to go snowboarding. I saw snowboarding on TV and it looked fun.”

On Jan. 16, the Williams family, that also includes daughter, Adrienne, was picked up by limousine and taken to the airport where they would fly to Salt Lake City, Utah. From there a car was available for their trip to Park City where they would enjoy five days of fun in the snow.

All expenses–from the chauffeured ride to accommodations and activities–were paid by the Make a Wish Foundation.

At the National Ability Center, an non-profit organization geared to empowering people of all abilities, Max and his family received their first snowboarding lesson.

It didn’t take Max long to learn it was more difficult than it looked on television.

In addition to two days of snowboarding lessons, Max also went tubing and enjoyed a horse drawn sleigh ride, where he and the driver, Bob, formed a strong bond.

Olympic training and trials were also taking place the week the family was there and Max scored passes to watch some of the nation’s best athletes train.

It was indeed a wish fulfilled and one that will carry Max and his family through for many, many years.

When he’s not dreaming of sailing down the slopes, Max enjoys playing his X-Box, basketball and baseball.

He enjoys action movies and comedies and has a strong affinity for Law and Order.

At 11, that makes him rarer still.