At the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital & Medical Center (JFL), it is our mission to drive improvement in the health of those we serve. As such, we are excited to announce our partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation Southern Florida Chapter to fulfill life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses in St. Croix, USVI.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that carries out the wishes of children with critical illnesses across the United States and 50 other countries. The foundation, separated into chapters, targets every U.S. community and territory to execute its vision “…to grant the wish of every eligible child.” St. Croix, USVI falls under the Southern Florida Chapter, which has granted over 14,000 wishes in its 40-plus-year history. Each wish brings hope and renewed joy to children battling critical illnesses.

Representatives from Make-A-Wish and JFL held an introductory meeting in January 2024. Children’s Services nurse manager Faye John-Baptiste recalls the moment by saying, “I’ve been on a joyous, smiling journey since our first introductory meeting to Make-A-Wish Foundation (Southern Florida Chapter). They are about bringing happiness to these deserving children who experience challenging life journeys due to their medical conditions. I feel the excitement with each referral!”

To date, JFL has referred two (2) children to Make-A-Wish. Both were deemed medically eligible to receive a life-changing wish. One is Ayden, a first-grade student at Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School, who has a long history of critical illness. At birth, Ayden was medically diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), a rare condition caused by a combination of four heart defects. By just two years of age, Ayden underwent three open heart surgeries, brain surgery due to a rare and potentially fatal brain aneurysm, and femoral-popliteal bypass surgery. According to medical professionals, the wish experience helps patients heal physically and emotionally. Ayden’s life-changing wish of an outdoor backyard playground will represent a turning point in his quality of life.

“This opportunity represents a milestone for JFL as we’re able to be a catalyst for quality-of-life improvement for children living with critical illnesses,” said Douglas Koch, CEO of JFL. “We are thrilled to be a part of the difference a child may need in his/her life and thankful to Make-A-Wish Southern Florida for all they do.”

To qualify for a wish, children must be between the ages of 2 ½ and 18, diagnosed with a critical illness, live or be treated in one of the servicing areas, and have not already been granted a wish by Make-A-Wish or other wish-granting organization (

JFL remains grateful for the opportunity to impact the lives of our most vulnerable population and looks forward to continued collaboration with Make-A-Wish-Southern Florida.