When my wish grantors came to plan the trip, they made the effort to make sure that the dates of my trip lined up well for us—we went a couple days after my birthday, and in the middle of the trip my older sister turned seven! Make-A-Wish had an enormous impact on me during my emotional transition from the world of my hospital room to the outside world. After spending years in and out of treatment facilities and watching Disney movies inside with my older sister, I was finally able to interact with these Disney characters outside, in real life during my wish trip. These characters brought me so much joy when I was experiencing so much pain. My whole family loved being able to relax, explore, and celebrate so many milestones together.
When I was in middle school, another life-threatening illness crept into my life as my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She thankfully recovered, but watching both of my parents experience medical difficulties after just having battled my own changed my values and overall outlook on life, and it’s what inspired me to give back to organizations that strive to better the lives of families facing serious conditions.
I’m now a 20-year-old college student at UC Berkeley, and this upcoming June will mark my 10th year of survivorship! I am involved in multiple organizations that focus on serving families impacted by cancer, and was overjoyed when I found out that I was selected to be a Social Media Intern for Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area this past spring semester. I’ve loved being able to spread the foundation’s messages on social media. It’s been interesting to see how much the foundation has evolved since my wish, yet their central mission has stayed the same—to empower families and children that face extenuating medical circumstances by providing outlets for joy, celebration, and hope.
Make-A-Wish not only provided me with a way to experience closure from my illness, but by attending Make-A-Wish events, I also got to meet kids who had endured the same childhood that I had, something that I had never done before. The foundation changed my perspective as a child—I no longer viewed myself as “different” because I was introduced to others who were just like me.