A heartbreaking ruling from a neighborhood homeowner association (HOA) in Missouri determined that a six-year-old little girl, who was battling cancer, would not be getting the one wish that her precious heart desired. They would eventually come to regret that decision.
Ella Schultz has already been through unimaginable difficulties during her young life, fighting to beat cancer that is ravaging her body and threatening to prematurely end her life. When asked by her mom, Jennifer Schultz, what she wants more than anything, Ella replied that she wanted to beat her cancer and stop having to undergo chemotherapy. She told her mother her second choice, saying, “A house. I want a play one.” However, the HOA wasn’t going to let that wish come true.
According to local news channel KCTV, the Schultz family worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and JE Dunn Construction on plans to build Ella a beautiful playhouse in her backyard. They even agreed to ensure the shingles matched those used on homes in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the heartless bureaucracy of the neighborhood HOA crushed little Ella’s dream on the basis of aesthetics.
“Everything seemed to be going fine then we got a phone call: Your HOA will not approve it.” Jennifer Schultz recalled. “What would any of them do if it was their kid? Would you make sure that their child got a wish because we don’t know if we have one more day or a lifetime with her.”
The Stone Gate Homeowners Association turned down the plans. HOA leaders said that building a structure in the backyard would go against the neighborhood’s covenants. When the little girl who has bravely battled so much was told she couldn’t have her playhouse, she broke down in tears.
Reporters from KCTV asked the HOA’s president Stacy Bayers for comment on why the board was unwilling to make an exception for little Ella. Bayers replied, “The proposed plan they’ve given us is a violation of our covenants.” However, that was not the end of this fight. Presumably, due to the pressure of neighborhood support, Stone Gate Homeowners Association met again to discuss their decision and try to find a compromise.
After the meeting, Stone Gate Homeowners Association released the following statement: “Today, we are happy to share that we have reached a positive resolution to ensure Ella’s playhouse will be constructed. Our board met with JE Dunn Construction and Make-A-Wish to gather additional information, and while we still have a few details and timelines to work out, we collectively reached the conclusion that Ella will get her wish. We couldn’t be more pleased to see that happen.”
Her father, Pete Schultz, said Ella was “just thrilled” with the news, according to The Kansas City Star. He said, “So happy, so excited. Turned her day around. We’re so grateful to everyone for how this worked out. Apparently, they all talked it out and we’re good to go. I couldn’t wait to tell Ella.”
The concern for aesthetics should never have taken precedence over this little girl’s wish. There should never have been a decision to reverse. From the beginning, this should have been an easy “yes” from the HOA. Bureaucracy has replaced the basic sense of human compassion. These so-called rules should not have stood in the way of even one minute of this little girl’s happiness, especially when she may not have very many of those joyful moments left. The best sight to see in this neighborhood is that little girl’s smile as she enjoys her new playhouse.