So many of our wish kids fight back and overcome their medical conditions and continue their journeys full of steadfast vigor and determination, strength and joy – they choose to celebrate life. Wish kid and former Make-A-Wish® intern Erika Moul, now 26, truly shows that life after cancer – as the NCSD Foundation puts it – can be meaningful, exciting, and filled with joy.
In 2002, when Erika was almost 15 years old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. A little over a year later, after undergoing an exhausting battle, Erika pulled through – she “knew there would be a light at the end of the tunnel.” Soon enough, Erika was on her way to her wish trip destination of Hawaii. Today, when reflecting upon her wish, Erika says it was “a celebration that marked the end of my battle and the beginning of my life as a survivor. I can still vividly remember all of the experiences.”
It’s been more than 10 years since her diagnosis – quite literally making it history – and she has made such strides since then. Erika graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010, and while there she interned with two different departments at the Make-A-Wish headquarters here in Pittsburgh. She later began her career with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and after a move to Houston, Texas, Erika now works at Rice University in alumni relations and fundraising.
Aside from her work life, Erika is happily engaged to her fiancé Brad, has a golden retriever named Carly, and spends her free time volunteering with various organizations that help pediatric cancer patients and their families. She is also quite busy planning her wedding scheduled for the fall of 2015!
Erika is just one of the many examples of wish kids who are now living with a history of cancer – they have leaped forward, leaving their medical condition behind them. All of their stories help prove how powerful a wish experience can be by creating some moments of hope and happiness during times that can sometimes be circumscribed by pain, fear and uncertainty.
Let’s all take a moment to celebrate these wish kids as well as the millions of other cancer survivors all across the globe. Let’s celebrate life!
For Erika’s personal account of her Hawaii wish trip, click here.