By STEVEN NALLEY
Mary Margaret Sullivan doesnât say much, but she can blow kisses.
Mike Sullivan, her father, said Mary Margaret has septo-optic dysplasia, which, among other things, limits her muscle control and her ability to communicate.
However, he said if Mary Margaret wants to say âYesâ to someone, approves of something, or wants to tell Mike and her mother Kelly Sullivan she loves them, she will blow them a kiss at them.
âThatâs a gift from God because it was totally untaught,â Mike said. âWe were like, âWhere did it come from?â It was so awesome when it first happened, and sheâs been doing it ever since. It melts your heart instantly.â
With funds raised by Mississippi State Universityâs Chi Omega sorority, the Make-A-Wish Foundation presented Mary Margaret with a therapy spa at a Wish Reveal Party Saturday at the Sullivan residence in Starkvilleâs Crossgate community.
Family, friends and representatives from the Make-A-Wish Mississippi Chapter and Chi Omega were on hand with food, balloons, banners and cameras. Also, American Idol finalist and Starkville native Jasmine Murray sang for Mary Margaret and her guests, accompanied on guitar by Pinelake Church worship pastor Ken Broom.
Mary Margaret blew plenty of kisses.
Kelly said Chi Omega raises funds for Make-A-Wish every year, and this year the group raised enough funds not only for Mary Margaret, but also other children in the Starkville area. She said Chi Omega also invited Mary Margaret to a talent show called âThe Limelightâ which culminates the groupâs Wish Week.
â(Mary Margaret) was the centerpiece of it, and it was an awesome thing,â Kelly said. âIt was just so cool. We didnât know about it until this happened. It was really neat.â
Murray said she knew the Sullivan family from Pinelake Church. When they asked her if she was interested in singing at the Wish Reveal Party, she said she jumped at the opportunity.
âIâm so excited about it,â Murray said. âTheyâre an awesome family. Theyâre so wonderful and loving. Iâm more than happy to be here â more than happy for Mary Margaret â to throw a great party.â
Mike said this is not his first experience with Make-A-Wish. Four years ago, he said he helped Robbie Koch at Coon Tattoos in West Point raise $15,000 in 24 hours for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, running public relations and assembling a lineup of bands for the event.
âLittle did I know that four years later, my daughter would be getting a wish,â Mike said. âShe was only maybe 9 months old at the time. We didnât realize the extent of her medical conditions back then.â
The symptoms of Mary Margaretâs condition include blindness, lack of control of her body and hormone deficiencies, Mike said. Her brain is missing a corpus callosum, he said, and she has to take medicine morning and night to survive.
âSheâs been airlifted twice; I donât know how many ambulances sheâs (ridden) in,â Mike said. âWe came very close to losing her five times since birth. If she doesnât get her medicine, things go downhill really quick. We have to care for her constantly, but ... sheâs a total blessing to our family. Sheâs got a brother and sister that donât even realize she has a disability, basically, because thatâs what they know.â
Mike said Mary Margaret has always loved swimming at the homes of relatives or friends, so when Kelly filled out an application for Make-A-Wish and its representatives interviewed the family to determine what wish to grant for Mary Margaret, it made sense to give her a place to swim.
âThis is something we can all do together as a family and, as my wife says, it kind of evens out,â Mike said. âMary Margaret can play with her brothers and sisters all on the same level once we get in the spa because it gives her mobility. She loves the jets and the warm water. Itâs good for her muscles because sheâs in the wheelchair all the time. It allows us to do a little more therapy with her, too, because itâs a lot easier to hold weight in water than it is outside of water.â