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100th 'Wish for Heroes' wish goes to Killeen first grader

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TWC News: 100th 'Wish for Heroes' wish goes to Killeen first grader
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When 7-year-old Kiara Brewster walked into Timber Ridge Elementary School, in Killeen, she had no idea of the surprise she had in store.

By 9 a.m., everyone involved with Kiara’s surprise was gathered inside the office waiting to be walked into her first grade classroom.

Her mother, Kerstin Brewster, said she was excited to see her daughter’s reaction.

"She's always hyper at home but she's always shy in public," she said.

About six cameras followed the principal to Kiara's classroom just before 9:30 a.m. to reveal that Kiara had been chosen by the organization “Wish for our Heroes” to have her wish granted.

Her mother Kerstin nominated her for the award.

According to her mother, Kiara suffers from a condition known as hypo plastic left heart syndrome. Under this congenital condition, a child's heart does not fully form. Therefore, Kiara is left with half a heart.

Despite the fact that Kiara’s already had three open-heart surgeries to try to correct her condition, there is no cure.

"I'm just trying to get her to have as normal life as possible but get the most out of it," Kerstin said.

As part of making the most of life, Kiara will soon be traveling to Germany thanks to the “Wish for Heroes” organization. The group provided her and her mother with two roundtrip tickets so Kiara will be able to visit relatives and family she’s never met before.

"It felt, it felt, I felt really good about it," Kiara said after she was granted her wish.

The nonprofit group was created a year ago by Jeff Wells as a way to grant wishes for deserving active duty service members and their families.

According to Wells, the idea of the project came to him through collaboration with his late father, who served as a marine.

"Literally in the days before, he passed away I put through, put together sort of a business plan on how we could make this happen, and two or three days after he passed away I started the process," Wells said.

Wells has a connection not only to the military but also the Killeen community. During his time as a soldier, he said he was stationed at Fort Hood.

"I served in the military myself, and saw firsthand a lot of the struggles that military members go through," he said. "There's a unique set of circumstances that all military members face."

With the motto “helping heroes battle hardships,” he said the group has granted wishes ranging from sending families on trips, to getting a vehicle repaired. The highest wish granted was valued at $10,000.

In just a year, they’ve granted 100 wishes but, Wells said he has no intention of stopping there.

"We want to grant one wish for every single member of the military that needs it, anybody out there that needs it or could use a wish," he said. "We feel the military goes to bat for us every day."

Kiara's father deployed to Iraq in September, which according to Kerstin makes dealing with her condition even more difficult.

"I feel a lot of times, I feel left alone with everything, especially when we have our episodes where she's more sick," she said.

However, it is a challenge the family has faced before. Kerstin said when Kiara had her second surgery her husband was deployed and had to come back.

"That is one thing he's worried about, that if something happens today he won't make it back in time," Kerstin said.

Despite dealing with this type of uncertainty she said support from organizations like “Wish for Heroes” make a world of difference.

"A lot of times you feel left alone, alone with the burden of not knowing what's going on, so someone helping like this it means a lot," she said.

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