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Lumber shortage leaves a 4-year-old's Make-A-Wish treehouse in limbo

Make-A-Wish is dedicated to granting Ava Williams's wish, but the lumber shortage is making it a challenge.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four-year-old Ava Williams was born with a heart condition, making daily life a challenge. Now, Make-A-Wish is trying to make her dreams come true.

But a lumber shortage has put that wish on hold.

Ava has been through a lot at 4 years old. She was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome meaning the left side of her heart didn't develop.

"A normal heart has four chambers and she only has a single," Ava's dad Harold Williams explained. "Her blood and oxygen don't pump right." 

Ava needs three surgeries. She has already had two and the last go-around was scary for the Williams. She was in bad shape. 

"This last one was pretty rough on her. We were there for 9 weeks," Williams said. "We were there for a long time."

Ava learned she was going to be a Make-A-Wish kid in April 2020. Her wish is to have a treehouse built for her but there's a problem, there's a lumber shortage.

"It's really kind of the perfect storm," said Chris Berry with Berry Lumber in North Highlands. He said the shortage started last May, which is typically their busiest time. 

"COVID happened and things like mills were either unable to open or they had outbreaks within the mills," explained Berry.

Bloomberg News reports lumber prices have increased 262% over the past 2 years costing about $104,000 just in lumber to build a single-story, 3,000 square foot home. This is based on prices in Boise, Idaho, one of the country's hottest housing markets. 

Not only are lumber prices soaring, the regional Make-A-Wish team tells ABC10 they are having a hard time finding licensed contractors available to build Ava's treehouse.

Berry says it's been a struggle providing contractors with lumber. 

"It's tough when they've got a project and someone wanting to spend money and do a project," said Berry.

Even though there's no projected end to the lumber shortage, Ava's dad would love to see her wish granted soon!

"She smiles a lot," said Williams. "She's a very happy kid but I'd love to see that, come outside and see that "Woah," you know!"

ABC10 reached out to Make-A-Wish about the lumber shortage and how it has affected their wish-fulfillment. President and CEO Jennifer Stolo replied with the following statement:

Much like COVID has impacted everyday life for all of us, Make-A-Wish is no exception. We have had to pivot in how we grant wishes as well as the challenges of securing high-demand resources. Despite these recent challenges, our commitment remains to fulfill our promise to each and every wish child to grant their heartfelt wish.

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