Ella was the first wish kid I met as a volunteer more than five years ago. She was 2.5 years old at the time, and wished to go on the “big boat with her own special bed.” Or, as grown-ups would call it, a cruise with a pull-out couch.
Ella had hepatoblastoma, a rare childhood liver cancer that had metastasized to her lungs. She was at stage four at diagnosis.
Her chance of survival? Just 20 percent.
The family delayed the wish so she would be completely done with chemo before they went. In addition to the wish being a great motivating factor, Ella would have her medicine port removed and enjoy the water slides and beaches free of restrictions.
Joining Ella’s Journey
For two years, I was privileged to be part of this incredible family’s experience while Ella fought and won her battle with cancer. I’d drop off balloons on her birthday or meet up with the family for frozen yogurt. It didn’t take much time, and the family has since shared how meaningful those moments were in keeping up hope during Ella’s treatments.
I’ll never forget the day I heard that Ella had received a clean bill of health and we could start planning her wish trip! In January 2012, they went on the cruise of a lifetime with the family whole, happy and healthy.
Volunteering as a wish granter makes my work even more rewarding. Every day, I have the opportunity to connect great companies with a mission that has changed my life.
Ella and Keri Reconnect
Recently, that connection came full circle when I received a text message from Ella’s mom showing that she got her ears pierced with the Make-A-Wish earrings at Claire’s.
The family didn’t even know that I work on the Claire’s account; they were just showing their support for Make-A-Wish. It was amazing to see this little girl who had to go through so many challenges reach this rite of passage.
I’ve seen it first-hand – the wishes we grant provide hope and strength for families when they need it most, and it’s all made possible through the generous support of companies and individuals who believe in the impact of the work we’re doing. It’s an honor and a privilege to work here.