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Following Her Dreams

Sarah at the Magic Kingdom

“ It is both a pleasure and an honor to help the organization that changed my life.... ”


- Sarah

Sarah reflects on her involvement with Make-A-Wish® as a wish kid and intern during the summer of 2012...

"As an intern for Make-A-Wish this summer, I helped to make dreams come true.  It is both a pleasure and an honor to help the organization that changed my life, even if not in the way that is normally expected.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.  My life had gone from enjoying the things that I love—particularly violin, which I had been studying intensely for years—to doctors’ appointments and medications.  As I adjusted to my illness, I had to also adjust my lifestyle.  My life was about schoolwork, violin practice, and rest.  I tried to keep up the rigor necessary for a professional violin career, along with my school studies.    There were medical complications to handle along with Crohn’s, usually in the form of staph infections that required skin debridements, sometimes many times a week.  During that time, my relationship with violin changed.  I began to think that pursuing violin as a profession may not be the best path forward; it would effectively turn a passion into work.

When I first learned that I would receive a Wish, it was a breath of fresh air.  I chose to go to Disney World, perhaps an uncommon wish for a 17 year-old.  However, after years of stressful medical problems, I needed a little bit of Disney magic.  As an addition, I asked to meet Disney musicians.  I wanted to question them on the music industry and hear their thoughts.    

My week at Disney was amazing.  Give Kids the World Village and the Disney experience have a place in my heart that cannot be described in simple terms.  However, Make-A-Wish went above and beyond by arranging a meeting with the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra.  The members of the orchestra, well-respected musicians from many of the finest conservatories in the country, took the time to talk to me about my musical aspirations and the opportunities that exist in the music industry.   With their help, I came to terms with a decision that I had been pondering for a long time— to pursue college for academic reasons rather than conservatory for a violin career.    This decision allowed me to follow my other interests and hold on to violin as a passion, instead of a pressure, in my life.

Today, I am very grateful that I made that choice.  I am studying International Relations at American University in Washington, DC, and I am expecting to graduate almost a year early.  Over the summer, my experience as a Program Services Intern has been amazing.  Every day that I go to work, I am excited to learn about new wish kids and the motivation behind their wishes.  After my own wish, the experience of helping other kids through difficult medical problems is incredibly rewarding.  Working with Make-A-Wish has taught me how I can bring more compassion, generosity, and patience to my professional life.  I am forever grateful to Make-A-Wish for changing my life, and for continuing to change the lives of other kids who face the overwhelming challenges of illness."

Sarah holds up a blanket she made to be auctioned off to benefit Make-A-Wish.  She is with Make-A-Wish development staff Brittany Youngman and Stephanie Pugliese.

After my own wish, the experience of helping other kids through difficult medical problems is incredibly rewarding. ”

— Sarah

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