Amanda stood at a mountain peak with clear, blue skies ahead as the fresh air kissed her face. For the first time in a long time, she felt relaxed and carefree.
“Being able to look out at the view and take a deep breath,” Amanda said. “It was a relief.”
After being diagnosed with cancer, 17-year-old Amanda wished to visit Yosemite National Park. She had been waiting for this moment all year.
“I wanted to choose an experience my whole family could enjoy together,” she said. “And Yosemite is one of the most beautiful parks in the U.S.” For Amanda, this meant quality time with her parents and brother in the great outdoors.
While there, Amanda and her family went on a new adventure every day. One of the highlights was an awe-inspiring reveal – the moment they first saw the iconic Half Dome peak.
“We went through a tunnel, and when we came out, there was an amazing view of Half Dome,” Amanda said. “We pulled over to take pictures, and I thought, ‘We’re finally here!’”
Suddenly, she was taken back by the view. In that moment, her wish had come true.
But the fun didn’t stop there – They also visited the ancient, giant sequoia trees ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 years old. Amanda said that, one tree in particular, the “Grizzly Giant,” was around 1,800 years old.
“There is even a picture of Teddy Roosevelt standing in front of it,” she said.
Just like her, those trees have stood with strength and resilience through every weather.
“That was one of my favorite parts,” she said.
But for Amanda, this experience was more than just a vacation to California. It was a symbol of accomplishment and recovery.
“A couple of months ago, I would run out of breath just walking upstairs,” she said. “But I was determined to get up to those views.”
And when she did, it was worth the hike.
“It was recognition that I was done [with cancer],” she said. “I could continue my life, appreciate the views and be healthy again.”
And now, since returning from her wonderful journey out west, Amanda’s wish has left a long-lasting impact.
“I am the happiest I’ve ever been,” she said. “I have a new appreciation for the little things.”
And little did she know, her wish has already led way for a hopeful future, full of more adventures.
“We’re thinking about taking a trip to Yellowstone next year,” she said.
There are more kids like Amanda waiting for their next adventure.
You can help them start their wish journey when you refer a child, volunteer or donate to Make-A-Wish!