Kelly, a senior in high school, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was only eighteen months old. Her treatments over the years have become both more complex and lengthier as her lung capactity has decreased.
Because of this, Kelly is required to wear a vest that vibrates her lungs up to four times a day for thirty minutes at a time. Even still, an infection has developed in her lungs that requires regular intravenous antibiotics, she is hospitalized regularly, and she has to work at maintaining her weight by eating more than average.
Born in South Africa, Kelly moved to the U.S at a young age but has missed her relatives and the scenery. The last time she was there, "she was too young to fully appreciate the great experience it truly was to be in South Africa," says her mom, Janette. A trip to South Africa offered her the chance to fulfill two desires: to see the animals she loves in the wild, and to visit relatives who had not seen her since she was a young girl. Additional planning time required for this trip gave Kelly the chance to get really excited about it, and when it did finally happen in November, 2011, her mom tells us "She did not stop smiling the whole time she was in the game reserve. She was [also] able to reconnect with relatives and they were able to see her as this almost young woman and not the tiny girl they remembered. This was a trip that would not have been possible without Make-A-Wish."
As we hear from other wish families, this wish also gave Kelly the chance to take a much-needed break from her "strict regimen of treatments" and her mom says, "I know she enjoyed that too. She really appreciated that other people realize how difficult her life can be and were prepared to give her a wish like this. She has so many memories that will last a life time."