A young honorary pirate helps her favorite pirate captain escape a band of angry buccaneers. “You’ll always remember this as the day you almost caught me,” Gabriella’s captain says as they leave pursuers in their wake. By the end of the elaborate stage show, Gabriella has lived an unforgettable adventure.
Gabriella’s appearance in the pirate show is just the beginning. Her entire Make-A-Wish® experience is a grand escape from her medical woes, which include a stroke and a heart transplant. Gabriella asked wish volunteers to send her, her brother and her parents on a voyage to soak in the sun and breathe the fresh ocean air.
Though the trip was postponed until doctors confirmed Gabriella was strong enough, she was bursting with excitement when finally cleared for her adventure at sea. She and her family swam in the ocean and took countless trips down the waterslides. The siblings made each day last as long as possible, staying up all night eating ice cream. Her 4-year-old brother PJ enjoyed feeding and kissing the dolphins the most, though.
For a girl who has spent so much of her life in hospitals, the trip is a source of strength for challenges that still lie ahead.
“They gave her something more interesting to talk about,” Gabriella’s mother, Kristi says about the Make-A-Wish volunteers. “Before, she’d talk about her heart condition. And now all she wants to talk about is her wish.”
These exuberant moments not only renew Gabriella and her family – they alter their outlook on life.
“We’re much more appreciative today. We appreciate our time together,” Gabriella’s mother, Kristi, says.
While continuing to stay optimistic , Gabriella and her family now dedicate their time to speak at wish events to encourage others to share the power of a wish® .