Athletic shoes squeaked across the hardwood floor, breaking up the dribbles of basketballs and increasing the already high levels of excitement of the night. An NCAA game honoring Make-A-Wish and several local wish families was in full swing. However, the thrill of the game wasn't enough to trick 8-year-old Isabella, who knew something secret was happening. With her parents hushing her insistent questions, she couldn't help but suspect that something special was going to be revealed at the game that night. Her intuition was right. During the halftime performance, Isabella’s wish to go to Hawaii was granted. Standing in center court surrounded by her family, she received all the supplies a person would need for a tropical vacation, including sunscreen, flip flops, a new bathing suit and a brand new suitcase to carry her new belongings. Living with a metabolic disorder hasn't always been the easiest part of Isabella’s life, but now she has the opportunity to kick back and enjoy a vacation with her family, rather than just focusing on her illness.
Leah has a personal connection to Make-A-Wish. After Leah’s younger cousin was diagnosed with kidney cancer, Leah watched as her wish to go to a theme park in Florida was granted. Seeing how the wish transformed her cousin’s life led Leah to dedicate her required high school senior project to fundraising for Make-A-Wish. Thinking outside of the box, Leah planned a talent show that required a donation for an audition. Many jumped at the opportunity to participate, wanting to both showcase their talents and support the cause. To bring in more donations, Leah coordinated an accompanying auction which will feature a quilt handmade by her grandmother. The selflessness of Leah’s wish will not only allow her to graduate, but will help grant wishes and inspire hope in other children with serious illnesses.
Ava has always yearned to be a dancer. Her passion for the art form of ballet is all she seems to be able to talk about. Recently, the 5-year-old stopped by her local Build-A-Bear® Workshop, where she received her own giraffe and then made three more animals, courtesy of Build-A-Bear and Make-A-Wish. While she was there, Make-A-Wish surprised Ava with a year’s worth of lessons from the Minnesota Ballet. There she will be able to hone her skills and begin her dancer’s journey. The lessons will help ease the pain of her treatments and keep her focused on being a kid again.