Five-year-old Blake Adair is only functioning on half of his own heart, but when it comes to compassion and generosity, he’s got more than his fair share.
With the help of Sweet Capone’s, which transformed into “Blake’s Bakery” Saturday, he raised $1,024 for the Make A Wish Foundation as a way to give back to the organization that granted his own wish – a trip to Disneyworld – earlier this year.
“He’s had four open heart surgeries, as well as various operations and procedures. His most recent surgery was in June of 2018, and so for us to be able to go on that trip in January after that last surgery was a nice break from everything,” said his mom, Amanda Adair. “It was also a nice way to reward the family for all the sacrifices and everything they’ve done over the last five years because our lives have been up and down and all over the place.
“It was an amazing, once in a lifetime trip. Now you want to help other kids go on wish trips, too, right?”
Sitting in her lap, Blake – a young man of few words (at least to media) – nodded.
Judging by his smile and the way it reaches his bright eyes, one would never know he was born with congenital heart defects, including aortic stenosis and mitral valve regurgitation which disrupt the proper flow of blood through the heart. Aortic stenosis in particular is one of the more serious valve disease problems, and when emergency attempts to open up his aortic valve did not take, he was deemed to be in need of a heart transplant.
While he waited for a transplant, however, his health deteriorated and he became weaker. In June 2018, he underwent a risky operation that changed the physiology of his heart so he would only function on half of it – and it worked.
“The thing with congenital heart defects is he’s never healed,” said Amanda. “We always say half of his own heart is better than a heart from someone else because we don’t have to deal with rejection – which is a weird concept, but he’s never going to be out of needing to be watched. Even if he gets a heart transplant, it’s still a forever battle…We just take one day at a time and put one foot in front of the other.”
The miracle was soon followed by a second, as the family was encouraged to apply to the Make A Wish Foundation, which grants “life-changing” wishes for children with critical illnesses in order to make them feel better and more hopeful about their future, and learned Blake’s was to be granted about a year ago.
In January, Blake and his family, including Amanda, his dad, Matt, and siblings Alexis, Jacob, and Kaleb, were flown to Florida.
“His wish was to see Maui from Disney’s Moana but Maui doesn’t have any character experiences, so he got to have a one-on-one with Moana and had a good time with her, and then we got to go to all the parks and Legoland, Universal Studios and Seaworld,” Amanda said. “It was really amazing…They (Make a Wish) take care of everything so there was nothing for us to worry about – no appointments or anything like that.”
With Make-A-Wish’s annual Wishful Baking Week held in October, there was no better time for the family – and of course Blake himself – to give back.
Last year, they held a bake sale at Amanda’s business, M.A. Tax Plus, and raised over $1,000. Sweet Capone’s had donated cannoli for the cause, but this year, when approached, decided to do more and suggested turning Sweet Capone’s into Blake’s Bakery for the day, with one dollar from every cannoli sold going towards Make-A-Wish.
“We’re just really appreciate of Sweet Capone’s that they’re willing to do this. It’s nice to be able to give back to Make-A-Wish through another organization, but the other thing it’s doing is raising awareness,” Amanda said. “It’s getting people talking about congenital heart defects and what they do because you never know if the person across from you might be suffering from the same things.”