Make-A-Wish Surprises Five-Year-Old in Jamestown

Arianna Walch was diagnosed with Batten disease in April

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — It doesn’t take long for Arianna Walch to get hooked to the slides at the playground, especially now that she has one of her very own right at home.

“She doesn’t daredevil out by herself too much and walk on her on because she’s afraid of falling. But when she saw the slide, she was ready to crawl up this whole ramp pretty much by herself. I didn’t even have to help her very much,” said Stephanie Walch, Arianna’s mother.

From the slides to the swings, there’s no stopping this five-year-old.

“She wants to go, go, go,” Stephanie Walch said.

It’s a moment to remember as a dream comes to life, for a girl who’s life expectancy is ten.

“To know she’s already gone half of her life, it just makes you want to strive even harder to make every day the best you can,” Stephanie Walch said.

Especially when some of those days include eight hour treatments Walch must go through for Batten disease, an illness affecting the nervous system.

“They would put a port in her brain and the medication would go right to her brain. It’s called Brinuera. We were going to Rochester every other week,” Stephanie Walch said.

Until yesterday, when Walch got her first treatment at Jamestown Regional Medical Center (JRMC).

It’s thanks to Arianna’s pediatrician Dr. Myra Quanrud, for coming up with a solution.

“When she asked us, it wasn’t even a question of can we. It was a question of when are we going to start,” said Trisha Jungels, chief nursing officer at JRMC. 

From one solution, to another one from the Make–A–Wish Foundation, a family is seeing a little more hope in their “Nana.”

“That’s what she calls herself because she can’t say ‘Arianna’, so she calls herself ‘Nana’,” said  Mikaila Walch, Arianna’s 14-year-old sister. “Overall, she’s just a happy little girl and I think this is going to make her so much more happy.”

Even on the toughest days, Arianna can still enjoy just being a kid.

“She can play every single day because it’s right here,” Stephanie Walch said.

Nill Construction built the base for the playground, which is part of the old Bison turf field.

Jamestown’s Depot Cafe also gave a free meal to the entire Walch family before the big surprise.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, North Dakota News