Nothing about Ateika’s life is like it should be. She hasn’t seen her sister or her mother in more than a year. And she is diagnosed with cancer.
Living with her father, Aref, in the United States gives her the best chance of overcoming her cancer. It’s a lonely time for them both, though.
Then, Make-A-Wish® volunteers offer Ateika the chance to take charge of something in her life. Name your truest wish, they say, and we’ll make it happen.
Ateika wishes to reunite her family. She waits for the day she boards a flight to Egypt with her father. The day of their flight, every minute and every mile brings the family closer. You can imagine how she feels as her airplane taxies to the jetway …
Today, the memories still buoy Aref’s spirits. The days at the beach and the time spent playing games helped the family regain a sense of having a normal life.
“It’s like a dream,” he says. “It’s something that made us happy.”
Ateika’s wish experience is also an uplifting memory for Michelle, her hospital social worker. Michelle knows the behind-the-scenes work required for the wish to come true: There were challenges with the family traveling to the United States, so Make-A-Wish volunteers found the solution. They flew Ateika and Aref to Egypt, while arranging for her mother and sister to travel from Yemen to meet them.
Ateika was not the first patient Michelle had referred to Make-A-Wish. She knows the hope and excitement of a Make-A-Wish experience can spark a transformation for children fighting for their lives.
And now, Ateika and her family also know how a wish-come-true can make the world better.