Eighteen-year-old Makenna has always had an appetite to take a bite out of The Big Apple. “It looks so pretty in the movies and TV,” Makenna described, always imagining herself walking the bustling streets and enjoying the big city glamour. When she got the devastating news in 2014 that she had ocular melanoma, Makenna was unsure she’d ever step foot in the big city. But after a few weeks of receiving radiation treatment, Makenna learned about Make-A-Wish®, and she knew this was her chance to find her dreams in the city that never sleeps.
With the help of Trusted Choice, Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia sent Makenna and her family from their hometown in Barboursville, WV, to New York City. When it was time for Makenna and her family to take flight, her excitement took off with the plane.
As soon as they landed, Makenna was ready to explore. She and her family cruised through the town on a ferry tour, stopping at some of the most famous historical attractions. Beginning at the peak of Manhattan in Battery Park, Makenna was taken on a trip back in time, visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. They also took a tour through Madison Square Garden’s state-of-the-art arena, moseyed through Central Park and visited the Central Park Wildlife Conservation Center.
No matter where she stood on the city’s map, Makenna found something fun in every direction. Although, Makenna’s favorite part of her trip was stepping out of Manhattan and into the Land of Oz, seeing a performance of the hit Broadway musical, “WICKED,” at Gershwin Theatre. As she watched the story of the two witches’ rivalry and unlikely friendship, Makenna was stunned by their extraordinary talent and designs. “I think everyone needs to go see “WICKED” at least once in their life,” Makenna said, “But if I could, I would go see it again and again.”
To add to her exciting NYC activities, Makenna was invited to visit the set of CNBC and the New York Stock Exchange. While there, she did the honors of ringing the bell to signify the opening of the trading day. Since 1985, the New York Stock exchange has been partaking in this trading tradition – “Normally, big time executives and famous people sound the bell – it was really cool that I got to be that person,” Makenna said. After learning about the financial market and getting a private tour of the building, Makenna received a special medallion to commemorate her ringing in the day.
“If I were to describe my wish in one word, it would be ‘magical,’” Makenna said, “Having my wish granted meant everything to me. I feel a lot happier since my trip and my family seems less stressed, too… I don’t have nightmares about my cancer anymore. My wish was a dream-come-true.”