The staff in this office is brand new. I started in August 2013 and Sarah joined me in October. Since we both started, it has been an amazing experience for both of us. We have met some amazing wish kids and experienced some wonderful wishes; however, we really weren’t prepared for this wish.
We realized our 1,000th wish was quickly approaching and we knew that Bridget had chosen a bedroom redecoration. We brainstormed how we could really make this wish special. Bridget is a quiet, 18-year-old girl who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening immune disorder. She never had the chance to decorate her own bedroom and was excited at the idea of getting new bedroom furniture.
We worked with our local Kohl’s store to setup a time when Bridget could visit for a shopping spree to pick out decorations for her new room. Sarah and Bridget’s mom worked together to find a way to get Bridget to the store. Sarah worked with Ashley Furniture to ensure the furniture could be delivered at the same time. After numerous phone calls and confirmations, the date was set for February 27, 2014.
Time flew that day. Our intern worked to decorate signs for employees to hold at the store, and Sarah and I headed out with balloons, banners, signs, a camera and the gift card in hand. When I arrived at Kohl’s, I was stunned. The store manager had rounded up over 10 volunteers to escort Bridget and help her shop. The volunteers grabbed balloons, banner and signs and gathered at the front door. Bridget finally arrived with her mom and some family friends.
I met her outside and she told me she thought I was taking her inside to pick out bedding. As soon as she walked through the double doors, she was greeted by volunteers, family and friends. Her eyes instantly filled with tears of happiness. She ran to embrace her neighbors and was presented the gift card to shop. She was then ushered through the store by the volunteers. They answered questions, took her items to the checkout and checked prices for her. When she couldn’t decide on bedding because she couldn’t “visualize it on her bed,” they took her choices out of the package and made the beds in the store so she could see it.
By the end of the night, there was a visible change in Bridget. This shy, quiet girl was giggling and talking to everyone around her. When it came time to leave, she hugged each volunteer and personally thanked them. She headed home from the store where she was met by her brother, father and friends for a pizza party. Her new bedroom furniture was delivered and set up and she was able to see her new room for the first time. It truly was a magical night for her – a night she will never forget.
At the event, her mom thanked us because Bridget isn’t the type of kid to ask for anything. Instead, she constantly worries about others. Even her wish-granting volunteers had trouble getting details from her because she isn’t used to asking for things. Wishes are a magical experience for these kids, and they each are so deserving of it. To see Bridget, an amazing young girl who has been through so much, truly experience the power of a wish was a profoundly powerful experience for both Sarah and me. We are so excited for this office to do 1,000 more!