Wish Children Featured at our 2016 Gala
As an avid sports lover and NFL football fan, Ashley knew she wanted her wish to involve her favorite NFL team, the Carolina Panthers. At the time, Ashley was also heavily involved with her athletic training program in her high school. During the meeting with her wish granters on her initial Make-A-Wish visit, she was asked where she was happiest. From there, the perfect wish for Ashley began to unfold. She was able to combine her love of football, the Carolina Panthers, and her passion for athletic training into her most heartfelt wish and biggest dream – to be an athletic trainer for the Carolina Panthers.
On the day of her wish, The Panthers’ Athletic Trainer, Mr. Ryan Vermillion, put Ashley to work immediately. After receiving an official business card, name tag, and credentials, she went out on the football field to refill player’s water bottles, set-up equipment, and observe an NFL football practice, just days before a big game. She worked with numerous players and staff, and made a special connection with one of her favorite players, Mike Tolbert, while stretching out his ankle. Ashley was also able to spend time with Panther’s player JJ Jansen who wears the same number as Ashley does in lacrosse. At the end of her day as athletic trainer, Ashley was given the honor of “breaking down the team” – a true highlight of the trip!
After returning home, Ashley said, “Those were the best five days of my life!” and asked, “How do you thank someone who has given you everything?” The wish experience reinforced Ashley’s desire to be an athletic trainer in the future, which is what she is studying to be at UCF. She also said, “It is so nice to have something this amazing come out of having Cystic Fibrosis and it was all possible because of Make-A-Wish and your amazing hearts!”
I wish… to go to the Georgia Mountains!
Christopher has a smile that could melt any heart and a taste for adventure. When asked what his true wish might be, he wasted no time in letting his wish granters know that he wanted to return to the Georgia cabin that he fondly remembered from a previous family vacation.
During their stay in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Christopher and his family enjoyed a jam-packed itinerary of fishing, gem mining, mini golf, and feeding fish at the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery. Driving up to Chattanooga, TN for the day, Christopher was thrilled to meet his favorite train, Thomas the Tank Engine, at the Creative Discovery Museum and hang out with a real life steam engine train and its crew at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. The highlight of Christopher’s train-filled day was getting to blow the horn and ring the bell alongside the train’s conductor. On the final day of the wish experience, Christopher and his family got face to face with sea life at The Georgia Aquarium.
This wish trip allowed Christopher and his family to find fun and respite amidst his battle with cancer. Together they made enough memories to last a lifetime, and spent much-needed time in the great outdoors, away from doctors and hospitals. His family expressed gratitude for their experience, thankful that Christopher could have “the time of his life.”
I wish… to meet my best friend!
Bonding over their rare condition – Ellie and Brynne had one true wish – to meet each other in person.
There are only a few kids in North America with a rare condition called trichohepatoenteric syndrome. Ellie, a 7-year-old from Canada, became long-distance best friends with Brynne, a 6-year-old girl living in Texas, with the same condition as her. They became each other’s support system – helping each other cope with the obstacles their illness often brings. Since they had never met, when it was time for both of them to choose their one true wish – without either one knowing, they both chose the same wish: to meet each other in person.
Both Ellie and Brynne flew to Destin, Florida to have their most cherished wishes granted. Ellie and Brynne spent a magical week playing on the beach together, holding hands most of the time, going shopping and getting manicures & pedicures with their moms. The bond between these two girls is truly enriching their lives with hope, strength and joy. This amazing wish is a true symbol of the power of a wish!
Thank you Make-A-Wish Canada and Make-A-Wish North Texas for granting Ellie’s and Brynne’s wishes.
I wish… to have a Pirate Ship Tree House!
Harley is an 8-year-old boy living with Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disorder that affects the lungs and digestive system. Harley does not let his condition stop him from enjoying the outdoors and doing what he loves most – being a pirate! Ever since his first birthday, Harley has dressed up and played pretend as a pirate. Harley has also always wanted a treehouse to play in with his friends. When it came time to pick his wish, he knew exactly what he wanted! Combining all of his interests, Harley wished to have a pirate ship-themed tree house in his backyard!
Last summer, while spending a day with his mom, Harley had no idea that back at home, his pirate ship treehouse was being built! Family, friends, and neighbors gathered in Harley’s backyard to welcome him home and cheer him on during the big reveal!
As the crowd counted down from five, Harley’s blindfold was taken off, and his dream pirate ship treehouse was unveiled. With joy in his eyes and a big smile on his face, Harley stood speechless looking at his new treehouse in disbelief. There in front of him, was the pirate ship he had dreamed about and
drawn on paper during his hospital stays.
Some special features included Harley’s name carved into the side of the ship, a helms wheel fit for a captain, and a skull and crossbows made out of LEGOS, designed especially for Harley by the model builders at LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
Harley loves his new pirate ship treehouse and plays in it every day! It will be a special place for Harley to cherish for a long time, and for him and his friends to play in for years to come!
I wish… to have a camper!
Wish kid Jay loves everything about traveling: visiting family, meeting new friends, and the endless possibility of the open road. However, in his two year fight against leukemia his ability to travel has been severely limited due to his weakened immune system.
When it was determined that his original wish to go to Hawaii could not be granted due to the rigorous nature of his treatments, he decided to revise his wish to a camper of his very own. This new wish would give him the freedom to travel anywhere he and his family want to without worry.
On June 29th, Jay came face-to-face with the camper of his dreams at La Mesa RV in Sanford, complete with a sunshade, bunk beds, and a kitchen designed to be easily sterilized with kid friendly features that make a crucial difference in his ability to travel. Shy at first, excitement soon overtook Jay and he could not keep from smiling as he took in his dream camper.
The camper means the world to Jay and his family because it allows them to “get their life back” and feel more confident about traveling with limits. The wish proved to be the perfect pick-me-up for Jay, who has been through so much in his young life. The camper symbolizes hope for the road ahead, and will allow Jay and his family to make enough memories to last a lifetime.