By Doug Schroder


WINNEBAGO – Emmalyn Freeze is a little girl from Mt. Morris who has some debilitating diseases that she and her family have had to deal with and will have to deal with for the rest of her life. Make A Wish Foundation volunteer Tim Charles and the crew at the Make A Wish Foundation have worked to make Emmalyn and her family’s experience a little more bearable by helping out. Emmalyn has been able to join in with area volleyball teams as they have played their games. So far teams from Oregon and Byron have had Emmalyn do so, and recently the teams from Stillman Valley and Winnebago joined in the support.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, Emmalyn, and her brother Colton, joined the Stillman Valley freshman squad in their game as Emmalyn participated in pre-game activities and was able to sit on the bench while the match progressed. Members of the team were very accepting of Emmalyn and her brother, with almost all of the Stillman Freshman team members joining Emmalyn’s Facebook page, Everyone for Emmalyn, after the match.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Emmalyn, and her brother, visited Winnebago and took part in the volleyball activities there. While it was set up for Emmalyn to participate with just the Freshman team, it turned out both the Sophomore and Varsity teams accepted her into the fold and she was able to participate with all of the teams throughout the night.

Emmalyn was diagnosed with severe chronic neutropenia and also has chiari malformations with a syrinx on the spine. So far she has had two brain surgeries and one spinal surgery, with another brain surgery scheduled for Nov. 2. Emmalyn was diagnosed after her brother Colton was found to have the same disease at age five. He had surgery and everything went fine, but he will have to have an MRI once a year for the rest of his life. Emmalyn’s condition is not as good as her brother’s.

Genetics play a part in this condition. While neither parents, nor any relatives, have these conditions, it is something passed down through the genes.

Back in May was when the Freeze’s first made contact with the Make A Wish Foundation. Since then they have enjoyed many of the “enhancements” that go with Make A Wish. Enhancements are activities that take place in the mean time before the wish is granted. Emmalyn’s original wish was to see Taylor Swift on the beach. While that could have happened, the foundation let her and her family know that that might only last a few minutes. Instead Emmalyn decided on a trip to Hawaii to see the beach. Emmalyn was fortunate enough to have somebody donate tickets to the Taylor Swift concert at Soldier’s Field this past summer and she and her mother went.

Emmalyn and her family left for Hawaii on Tuesday, Oct. 20, for a seven-day trip to the islands. The family has never been there before and all were looking forward to the trip.

Emmalyn’s condition causes her to get many fevers, upper respiratory infections and sores in her mouth. She takes neupogen shots every other day to elevate her neutrophil levels that help her in fighting her condition.

“The girls were really excited to have Emmalyn come after Tim Charles came and talked to the team the Friday before. They wore Make A Wish t-shirts at school and for the game,” exclaimed Winnebago volleyball coach Jim O’Rourke.

Since the Make A Wish was founded in 1980 over 126,000 wishes have been granted to many children throughout the USA.


Emmalyn Freeze 1

Emmalyn Freeze and her brother, Colton, pose for a picture with the Winnebago Freshman volleyball team prior to the game on Tuesday, Oct. 14. Doug Schroder photo

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