“Our little brother, Elias, actually had his wish to go to Disneyland granted in 2000 before he passed away,” Rosa explains. “Experiencing first-hand how impactful and special a wish experience can be inspired us to give back.”
Since becoming wish granters in 2012, the sisters have already helped grant an incredible 18 wishes and hope to grant many more in the years to come.
Rosa and Blanca both vividly remember the first wish they helped grant–3-year-old Jeffrey’s, who wished to go to Disneyland to meet the characters from his favorite movie, Cars. “He was very shy at first during his wish interview,” says Blanca, “but as soon as his mom mentioned Cars, his face just lit up with excitement and he went on and on about it. There was no doubt that he chose the right wish!”
When Jeffrey’s family sent photos from their Disney vacation, and Rosa and Blanca saw the beaming smile on his face, they were sure that wish granting was for them. “Seeing how happy he was just reminded us why we decided to become wish granters,” Rosa explains.
The sisters have had the chance to be involved with some truly incredible wish experiences over the years. 17-year-old Juan had his wish for a gaming computer, complete with all the accessories, come to life in the most epic way possible. Sony stepped up to adopt his wish, providing his family with an amazing behind-the-scenes tour of the Sony/PlayStation headquarters, and providing him everything he needed for the perfect gaming set up. “This wish ended up being beyond his wildest dreams,” says Blanca.
On another wish assignment, Rosa and Blanca helped 13-year-old Leslie’s shopping spree wish come to life. “She was really into makeup and fashion but, because their medical expenses were high, she didn't have a lot of makeup to get creative with,” Rosa recalls. At the top of her shopping list was Sephora, where staff went above and beyond to make the experience special. “They had a cute makeup station set up for her when she arrived,” Rosa says, “and gave her a full makeover complete with a manicure.”
Next, Leslie was off to Macy’s for a VIP shopping experience, including an entire fitting room decked out with outfits hand-selected just for her. “Leslie really loved the VIP experience and being treated like royalty by her favorite stores,” says Rosa. “It was nice to see her face light up and experience the true impact a wish can have.”
Rosa and Blanca say that volunteering with Make-A-Wish is unbelievable rewarding. “Seeing how happy and excited the wish kiddos and their families get during the entire wish process is incredible,” Blanca says. “It is very rewarding being able to take their mind off of the hardships that they have faced and give them a something to look forward to.”
The connections they make with wish kids and their families will stay with the sisters forever. They recall a letter they received from a wish mom a few years ago. “It made us so happy and truly reminded us why we do what we do,” Blanca says.
They’ve kept the note saved as a reminder of the transformative impact of a wish, and have translated it from Spanish to English below:
"Thank you very much for your help in granting my daughters wish. It was unforgettable and a lot of fun. Huge thank you to the lovely volunteers. My daughter went through something very difficult. She had stage four neuroblastoma and thank god everything turned out well and she is now cancer free. After you granted her wish, her happiness came back."
During National Volunteer Week, Rosa and Blanca urge others to join them in giving back. “It has been shown that after a child has a wish granted, it can increase feeling of happiness which in turn can improve a child's response to treatment and their emotional health,” Rosa says. “That alone is enough reason to get involved!”
“It is a blessing to be able to make such a big impact on these amazing kids’ lives and others should get involved to witness it first-hand,” says Blanca.
We couldn’t grant so many amazing, life-affirming wishes without the help of dedicated volunteers like Rosa and Blanca. We’re in particular need of Spanish-speaking volunteers throughout the greater Bay Area. Learn more about how you can join our caring community of people who improve the lives of children battling critical illnesses.