A Missouri homeowners association told the family of a 6-year-old girl battling leukemia that they could not build a backyard Make-A-Wish playhouse for the girl because it violates rules on outside structures, NewsOK.com reported Wednesday.
The decision has been met with criticism. The Stone Gate Homeowners Association, critics say, should have OK'd the project for a sick girl who had multiple surgeries and gets IV treatments five to seven times a day.
"She's earned this — she deserves it. She can't get out and play with other kids. This playhouse is what she would have. Is it really going to hurt someone?" Peter Schultz, her father, asked.
His daughter, Ella, has been in and out of hospitals since her diagnosis with lymphoblastic leukemia. The paper reported that she was hospitalized as recently as Wednesday with a high fever.
Make-A-Wish secured a construction company that agreed to finance the project. But then the family was informed that the project would potentially be in violation.
The association told the paper that it is reviewing the matter, but explained that the "barn-style" proposal did not contain enough information.
"Our hearts are with Ella Schultz and her family as they battle this terrible illness," the board said in a statement. "Our homeowners association board is committed to working with Make-A-Wish Foundation…to see if we can figure out a way to make Ella’s wish come true."
The association has a responsibility to uphold bylaws, but it finds itself in the uncomfortable position of delaying a wish from a girl who, at one point, had a survival rate of 5 percent and spent 112 days last fall in the hospital. The girl is well-known in the community, with 3,000 Facebook friends.
"You deny a sick 6-year-old girl a wish -- that's going to upset people," the girl's aunt told the paper.