When I was 15, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Amidst the copious amounts of information that I had to process upon being diagnosed, I remember a social worker telling me that I would be eligible for a wish through Make-A-Wish. Although I wasn't quite ready for my wish, it gave me hope throughout all of my many hospital stays and chemotherapy treatments. When the most exciting part of my day was watching Bob Barker on The Price is Right or waiting for the snack cart to come out at the hospital, the future possibility of a wish continued to give me strength to press on in my battle against leukemia.
After almost two years of being in and out of the hospital, I was finally strong enough and ready to pursue my wish! I talked things over with my wonderful Make-A-Wish volunteers that visited with my family and decided that a trip to Los Angeles was the perfect wish for me. It was also one that I could share and experience with my family that had been by my side through everything. When I hopped off the plane at LAX (with a dream and my cardigan), I was greeted by a Make-A-Wish volunteer holding a sign with my name on it and a bouquet of fresh, colorful flowers. I was filled with excitement and felt like a star in my own right because of this warm welcome and many other special touches throughout the week.
Over the next six days, my family and I enjoyed various activities all over Los Angeles. Instead of watching Bob Barker from the confines of my hospital room, I was driving past his luxurious house in Beverly Hills! I also attended an interleague game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees, which was an incredible experience for an avid baseball fan like myself. Between the beaches, roller coaster rides at Six Flags and Universal Studios, and shopping on Rodeo Drive, my medical worries were pushed far from my mind.
To this day, my family and I continue to talk about the memories we made on my amazing wish trip. When I was offered the chance to intern with the development team at Make-A-Wish as a sophomore in college, I could hardly say ‘yes’ quickly enough! My favorite part was writing and sharing the inspirational stories of other wish kids with all of our extremely generous donors. Now as an employee with program services, I'm thrilled to be able to share the power of a wish with other children who need something to look forward to in their own lives. I feel honored to be a part of this wonderful team that diligently works to fulfill the dreams of others. I only hope that I can make other wish kids feel like superstars just as I was made to feel on my wish!