Macy’s blasts into holidays with fireworks, a wish come true

 Fireworks light up the sky at Oakland Mall Nov. 3.

Fireworks light up the sky at Oakland Mall Nov. 3.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 7, 2017

 Diogo Ascencio, 7, of Royal Oak, mails his letter to Santa at the Macy’s store. For every letter submitted, Macy’s will donate $1, up to $1 million, to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Diogo Ascencio, 7, of Royal Oak, mails his letter to Santa at the Macy’s store. For every letter submitted, Macy’s will donate $1, up to $1 million, to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

TROY — Zach Dekeyser, 6, of Harrison Township, and his family had planned to hang out with Santa and watch the fireworks at Oakland Mall Nov. 3 for Macy’s 12th annual Oakland Fireworks Spectacular, but they couldn’t make it due to an illness.

Macy’s Believe campaign, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation, has returned for the 10th year. Zach and his family, as Make-A-Wish recipients, were chosen to celebrate with Santa that night.

Zach had a blast trick-or-treating Halloween night as Captain America, but he contracted a virus and had to make an unplanned visit and stay in Detroit Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where he was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal bacterial infection.

Zach was diagnosed with Evans syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, about a year and a half ago. As part of his treatment, he receives a low dose of chemotherapy, so he must avoid people who are sick and those who have not been vaccinated, said his mother, Kristen.

“He’s been hospitalized over a dozen times, every time he gets a fever,” she said. “It makes it really difficult to make plans and keep those plans. Everything has to be a surprise. Everything depends on (blood) counts.”

Zach has had four platelet transfusions and a bone marrow biopsy, and he has blood drawn up to three times a week.

“His body is on a roller coaster,” she said. “He (Zach) shows us every day what true strength is. He’s so full of life.”

The Dekeysers — Zach, Kristen, dad Brandon and brother Troy, 12 — traveled to California in May and visited Legoland, Seaworld, Los Angeles and the San Diego Zoo.

“It was everything we could have hoped for,” Kristen said. “It gave us a break (that) we all needed.”

She explained that Troy never complains. “He’s extremely caring. He makes me proud.”

Christy Hammond Schulte, of Make-A-Wish Michigan, explained that through Dec. 24, people may bring stamped letters to Santa to their local Macy’s. For every letter received, Macy’s will donate $1, up to $1 million, to help Make-A-Wish grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Since 2008, the Macy’s Believe campaign has raised more than $15 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Letters may be dropped off at Macy’s stores or submitted at ma cys.com/believe.

“The average value of a wish is $10,000,” Hammond Schulte said. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes for children ages 2 1/2  to 18 who have conditions ranging from cystic fibrosis and organ transplants to autoimmune and genetic disorders.

Hammond Schulte said granting wishes for children helps motivate them to follow treatment protocols and gives them something to look forward to.

“We’re creating a wonderful experience for a child and their family,” Hammond Schulte said.

For more information, visit www.michigan.wish.org or call (800) 622-9474.