Incredible Make-A-Wish stories
– I WISH to go to Aspen, Colorado
Energized by learning about the world’s history, lively 17-year-old Sarah of Sharpsville, PA, is at her best when she’s taking part in family excursions to museums and historical landmarks spilling over with interesting facts and figures. Looking forward to turning worry into hope, Make-A-Wish® granted her wish of traveling to the beautiful land of Aspen, CO. During her “Rocky Mountain Christmas,” Sarah, who is diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis, was able to fulfill her dream of seeing the majestic Rocky Mountains and experiencing the unique culture of the great American West.
Sarah’s holiday to remember began on a snowy, white day in December 2010 at the Pittsburgh International Airport as United Airline staff escorted her to the cockpit and invited her to take pictures with the pilot prior to take-off. When Sarah and her family landed in snow-covered Colorado, they made their way to their home away from home at Hotel Aspen. The hotel staff treated Sarah and her family like royalty and made sure that there was a Christmas tree in their suite. Throughout the week, Sarah’s itinerary was jam-packed with history and entertainment. To her amazement, she had the opportunity to take a private tour of the Wheeler Opera House and later got to see the jaw-dropping performance of White Christmas at the theater. The family visited the Wheeler-Stallard Museum and went on a magical sleigh ride through the picturesque streets of Aspen among the glistening pine trees and “Aspenglow.” Among all of the breathtaking activities, Sarah’s favorite elements of the trip were snowshoeing and taking a private tour of Ashcroft Ghost Town. Another highlight was during the premiere of the movie The Way We Were, where the family had a heart-warming interaction with a local couple. The families began chatting while they were in line and Sarah’s mom casually mentioned that the only downfall of traveling during the holidays was being away from homemade Christmas cookies. To their surprise, as they arrived back at their hotel the next night, there was a box of delicious homemade Christmas cookies waiting for them from the couple at the movies.
Along with warm, holiday joy from Aspen, this magical holiday vacation provided an answered call from a family searching for hope. Sarah and her family will never forget the glow of abundant joy that took over Sarah’s face during the trip. The special memories that Sarah shared with her family are ones that she will keep close to her heart forever.
– I WISH to be a Pittsburgh Penguin
Jacob, an 8-year-old from Connellsville, PA, started his day as an honorary Pittsburgh Penguin with a meeting with team GM Ray Shero to sign his contract. Our chapter’s 10,000th wish had attracted enough media attention that Mr. Shero commented that he hadn’t had that many reporters and cameras around when he signed team star Sidney Crosby.
Jacob was escorted into the Penguins’ locker room where his own locker was waiting for him with official equipment including a helmet, stick and his own jersey. Players greeted their new teammate before heading onto the ice for practice. Penguins’ Equipment Manager Dana Heinze then showed Jacob how to prepare a stick, sharpen his skates and then let Jacob choose any player stick for his very own.
At his first press conference, Jacob fielded questions about the salary cap, his position and the team’s chances that night. When it was time for practice, left winger Matt Cooke came off the ice and hoisted Jacob up onto his hip for a skate around the ice and visits with his teammates. At the far end of the ice, Matt set Jacob down and helped him take practice shots at goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Jacob got one past Fleury with the help of his new teammates.
That night, before the game against the Hurricanes, Jacob was in the penalty box while his team warmed up and on the runway to share fist-bumps as the team headed onto the ice at the start of the game. Jacob got to enjoy the game in the seats directly behind his team’s bench and was featured on the Jumbotron during the game.
– I wish to meet Carol Burnett
Just like any other 17-year-old, Caitlin from Athens, PA, loves listening to music and watching television. However, being diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition makes it harder for her to live her life in a normal way. Make-A-Wish® wanted to help put some normalcy back into her life by granting her any wish of her choosing. Caitlin knew right away she wanted nothing more than to meet her favorite actress, Carol Burnett. After all, she has every one of her performances on DVD and has watched them all many times.
While on vacation in Santa Barbara, Caitlin and her family stayed at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort. Before Caitlin knew it, the much anticipated moment had arrived. She was about to have a private meet and greet with her idol!
Here is a letter that Caitlin’s parents sent Make-A-Wish on their daughter’s special meeting:
“Our daughter, Caitlin, had the amazing experience of meeting quite possibly the loveliest woman we have ever known, Carol Burnett. Every day since that trip, Caitlin has talked about how “fabulous” or “unbelievable” the experience was.… you can never truly know how full a mother’s (and father’s) heart can be from seeing your child who has struggled for everything be so completely filled with joy. Thank you from a weepy mom and dad!
Thank you from the bottom of our overflowing hearts, Caitlin’s parents”
– I wish to donate to the CHOP Liver Transplant Fund
When 17-year-old Mya, from Boyertown, PA, was told that she qualified to receive a wish, she was elated with the possibilities. She started brainstorming ideas: a tropical vacation, a meet and greet with her favorite celebrity or cooking lessons with her favorite chef.
“All of these things sounded wonderful,” Mya said. “But something inside of me simply couldn’t ask for any of them.”
That’s when Mya knew that her wish had to make a difference.
She decided to donate her wish to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Liver Transplant Fund for Patients and Families, a cause near and dear to her heart. Almost four years ago, Mya was waiting to get her own liver transplant, and fortunately, a match was found.
“I put myself back in the mindset of the little girl whose wish it truly was – the Mya that only four short years ago was waiting to get her life back,” said Mya as she explained how she came to her wish decision. “What would she have wished for? Well, there was only one thing: a liver.”
Now that she is happy and healthy, Mya said, “I truly cannot ask for anything else.”
Joined by family and friends, her wish volunteers and hospital staff, Mya presented a check donation of $4,400, the average cost of a wish, as a token of her love and appreciation for the fund.
“I was blessed with an amazing and supportive family and friends, the impeccable care from this incredible hospital and the gift of a lifetime,” Mya said. “My only wish now is that all families and patients like me can receive the same care and compassion that I did.”