The ongoing health crisis has been especially tough on 16-year-old Priscilla, who lives with cystic fibrosis.
She faces frequent hospitalization and, due to her compromised immune system, she is required to spend significant time in isolation. This can cause her to have severe anxiety.
“The past few weeks have been really tough for me, knowing I can’t leave my house to put myself at risk of getting COVID-19,” Priscilla says. “My anxiety has been increasing and that’s what makes it scarier, because I don’t know what might happen next.”
Her condition had already taken a toll on her, both physically and emotionally. Even before the outbreak, she had been feeling increasingly discouraged, and she deals with severe anxiety.
“Something that’s really challenging for me with cystic fibrosis is that I can’t be close to family members if they’re sick,” she explains. “I know it’s what’s best for me, and best for them,” she says, but the loneliness can be overwhelming.
Priscilla loves animals and has always dreamed of having a canine friend to travel with her and keep her company. When she learned that she qualified for a wish, Priscilla knew she wanted to have an emotional support puppy to help get her through these hard times.
She had already done her research and knew exactly which breed was the right fit—a labradoodle. “I heard labradoodles understand how to make you feel comfortable when you are going through a phase of anxiety,” says Priscilla. “They are really loyal, smart, and loving.”
Working closely with a breeder in Oregon, Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area paired Priscilla up with the perfect companion—her new best friend, labradoodle puppy Nico!
Learning that her wish would be coming true was a much-needed bright spot for Priscilla at a time when she really needed one. “I was thinking about it so much,” she says. “I kept counting the days down and thinking about how excited I was.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Make-A-Wish staff faced some additional hurdles in bringing Priscilla’s puppy home–but nothing could keep Nico away from his new owner! Our program staff were able to safely deliver him to Priscilla’s home in San Jose with a contactless drop off.
Thankfully, her mother filmed the magic moment when Priscilla first met Nico. Granting this wish at this time was challenging but beyond worth it, as Priscilla has the chance to bond with her new puppy while sheltering in place.
“Thank you for making my wish come true, I have no words to express how much I appreciate this” said Priscilla on the day she met Nico. “He is perfect and I can’t believe how much I love him already!”
Priscilla and Nico bonded immediately. Within days, he was following her from room to room, and resting by her side whenever possible. “He stays right there and wraps his whole body around my feet to make sure nothing happens to me,” she says.
At only nine weeks old, Nico is already incredibly attuned to Priscilla’s emotional state, and is ready to help whenever he notices her struggling. “He knows when something is wrong, because he is there to comfort me,” she says. “The other day, I had an anxiety attack, I was crying, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. He was right there by my side. He was trying to cuddle with me, and that’s what made me really happy. My anxiety went away really quickly, and usually it takes a while.”
Priscilla is incredibly grateful to have Nico in her life, especially at a time when so many other wishes are unfortunately on hold. “I felt really special,” she says. “Everyone in this whole world is special in some type of way—but I really appreciate Make-A-Wish because they really made my wish come true.”
To other children who are waiting for their wishes, Priscilla says “It’s worth the wait! The more you wait, the better it will be and the more fun you’ll be able to experience with friends or family.”
While many wishes are currently on hold, we are still able to safely grant wishes like Priscilla’s just when they are needed most. We need your support so that wishes aren't kept waiting a day longer than necessary! Please donate today and shine a light of hope for wish kids like Priscilla.