VARDAMAN • Piper Livingston has had quite a journey in her six years; now she has a new companion for that journey thanks to Make-A-Wish Mississippi.

Livingston was born with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), a disease that affects the blood flow through the heart and lungs.

“She was born with TOF and by 3 years old, she was in heart failure,” said Piper's mother, Ashton Pettit. “We got transferred from Jackson to Memphis, to Le Bonheur. We were there 115 days before Piper got her new heart. We were there maybe a month after her getting her new heart and then we came home.”

However, the problems were far from over.

“We were home maybe a few months after that, and she developed cancer in her stomach from the transplant. She quit taking treatments in December of last year, and she's been doing wonderful since.”

Although her health has improved since then, Livingston’s ordeal earned her a referral to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

During her interview, which was carried out by Houston Alderlady Shenia K. Jones and Houston Assistant City Clerk Barbra Buggs, she asked for one thing above all else.

“I want a Poodle!”

So, Make-A-Wish and the volunteers set out to make that happen.

It all came to fruition last week, at a reception specially planned for her. Piper was gifted with her very own Poodle.

Livingston’s face lit up with joy when she saw that furry face looking back at her. She immediately latched on to her new friend and the Poodle did the same, greeting Piper with kisses. It was like the two were meant to be united.

“It is good!” said Piper when asked what she thought of her new puppy.

The challenge then became giving the new member of her family a name.

After some thought, however, Piper decided on a name ... Sky.

“It was just in my brain,” she said when asked how she came up with the name.

The community showed up in support of Piper, lining Main Street in Vardaman to wave as her parade passed by. Livingston’s family appreciated the show of support.

“It warmed all of our hears to be able to do this and to maker her wish come true,” Pettit said.

Livingston also received a meal of her choice — she went with pizza, chicken strips and cupcakes — and gifts to help with her new puppy, such as leashes, a collar, shampoo, chew toys and various other dog-related items.

While Make-A-Wish fulfilled the wish, the nonprofit’s organizers credited Livingston’s family for the reveal’s success.

“Shenia and Barbra met with Piper's family and kind of figured out what she wanted and she talked through it and decided that she wanted a wish, so it was really all Shenia and Barbra that planned the whole thing,” said Abbie Kate Hancock, Development Director for the North and Delta Territories of Make-A-Wish Mississippi. “They got the fire department here and the police department here and they made it happen.”

Hancock said Livingston’s wish was the organization’s first of the new fiscal year. Last year, Make-A-Wish Mississippi granted 64 wishes.

“We are really excited for Piper to be our first wish,” Hancock said.

Buggs and Jones, as mentioned were responsible for interviewing Piper and her family, and this is a crucial step in the process, however, they were also responsible for another aspect that is just as important.

“We get to do the fun part,” said Buggs. “All we do is make sure that the reveal goes well. We try to make it just so exciting, with all the whistles and bells, and the sky's the limit. This is what makes today real special. To me, it's the biggest part of Make-A-Wish, the reveal.”

Piper ran around the venue playing with her new puppy and it sealed the occasion, friends for life, united through the kindness of others.

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