“Some days you can look at her and it’s just impossible to believe that she’s sick,” Star Kerly, said of her 10-year-old daughter Zoe.
But she is. Zoe is among one of every 10 million children to develop pulmonary hypertension, reported KAIT-TV in Jonesboro, Ark.
“It takes your breath away in more ways than one, this disease does. It’s evil,” Star told the news station. The only cure for pulmonary hypertension is a double lung and heart transplant.
“Average life span after diagnosis is five years,” Star said. “We’re going for more than that.”
To that end, Zoe’s family and friends gathered Thursday in anticipation of the young girls arrival home to get a surprise from the Make-A-Wish foundation.
But her wish was, you might say, a little different than what you might expect coming from your average 10-year-old girl: A “Duck Dynasty” room makeover.
Zoe’s faith is very similar to the Robertsons’, the well-known Christian family of the hit reality series.
And when she walked into her house, Zoe was greeted by a special recorded message from Justin Martin to let her know about a surprise upstairs.
“Hey Zoe, on behalf of the whole Duck Commander Crew, your wish has been granted,” Martin said on the message. “Congratulations!”
Walking into the room, Zoe’s mouth was agape. First, she beheld the orange, green, and camo room. Then there was a signed “Duck Dynasty” hat from the Duck Commander Crew, as well as multiple posters and decorations for her room.
“This is her Make-A-Wish,” Zoe’s mom said, “but it affects all of us who have loved and watched her go through this. We get to watch just happiness.”
Since Zoe was diagnosed quickly, she could start medications she needed right away. “The next step is probably an IV that feeds straight into the heart,” her mother explained.
Zoe knows what odds she faces, yet she’s the one who carries her mom and dad on most days. “Zoe has a great faith,” Star said. “One of the hardest conversations is she’ll tell ya…’I'm not afraid to die…because I know I’m going to heaven.’”
“We haven’t been able to be angry,” her mother said. “Because if she isn’t, we can’t. We’re heartbroke, but we can’t be angry.”