Breaking News
More () »

Making memories for critically ill children | On The Bright Side

Meet a New Providence teen making life-long memories with Casey Cares.
Credit: Wagner Family

NEW PROVIDENCE, Pa. — Parvaneh Wagner was diagnosed with Rett syndrome at just 3 years old. 

"It takes away her ability to walk and talk," said her mother, Deidre Wagner.   "They basically explain like she's trapped in her own body and that she can understand more than she can portray."

The Wagners adopted her at 10 years old. They welcomed "Nay-Nay" into their family and New Providence home with open arms. 

"I'd adopt a special needs child because they are always the last to get picked," said Deidre Wagner. 

This January marks five years together. 

Deidre says that while it's been a challenging journey at times, it's been well worth it. 

Even though Nay-Nay can't speak, she's found other ways to communicate.

"She's very sassy and she doesn't say anything, but her eyes tell the story," said Wagner. 

As a family, they've been able to share some special moments. 

"We went to see 'Trolls Live' in Hershey, which was her favorite," said Deidre.

They've also gone to hockey games, soccer games, the aquarium and the zoo. 

Those experiences, coupled with special accommodations needed for Nay-Nay, can get pricey... but it's something the Wagners have never needed to worry about. 

Each event has been fully covered through the Casey Cares Foundation, serving critically ill children. 

Founder Casey Baynes shared what inspired her to start the foundation.

"I was volunteering in the hospital and working with a little boy who wanted to meet a race car driver," Baynes said. "And as the driver came in, this little boy was off to the side, watching all the magic happen." 

She says she heard the boy say, "I wish I had cancer, too. Maybe I would get cool stuff too."

From that moment on, Baynes wanted to make sure every critically ill child was given memorable experiences, too. 

"You know he didn't want cancer," she said. "He wanted to someone to say, 'Buddy, we know what you're going through.'"

Deidre Wagner says help from the foundation has made a world of difference for Nay-Nay and their family. 

To become a memory maker or learn more, head here.

Download the FOX43 app here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out