Adopt A Wish -- Make-A-Wish Foundation
In 2008, Rachel was granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her wish was to have the chance to visit her brother Mark and his family who were stationed in United States Air Force in Germany and that she hadn’t seen since her diagnosis in 2007. Their trip to Germany was one of the highlights of her life and they were so grateful for this opportunity granted to her and our family by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It was one of the organizations that Rachel talked about giving back to many times during her fight. Because of the impact that Make-A-Wish had on Rachel's life, it was easy for us to choose to make a child's wish our first fundraising project!
We learned that Make-A-Wish has an Adopt-A-Wish program that allowed us, with a $5,000 contribution, to take a more active role in the granting of a wish. We were able to select a child fighting cancer from our local area and have the honor of granting her wish! In December 2015, we were matched with our Wish Kid, Ianna, an imaginative, creative, six year-old girl, who loves to play dress up and do art projects. Her wish was to go to Hawaii with her parents and her two year-old twin siblings!
A Wish Come True
At the end of March 2016, Ianna finally had her wish come true! With all that this family has, and continues to go through, her wish seemed to bring a welcome release. What an amazing and heartwarming experience this has been from the beginning. First, Ianna was selected to be the first kid to ever have their wish revealed at the Annual Make-A-Wish Gala in early March! We had the chance to go to the Gala and watch as her wish was announced with beautiful flowers, hula dancers and Hawaiian music. We then were honored to greet Ianna and her parents as she came off of the stage and spend a few minutes chatting and giving them a few more goodies for their trip. Thanks to all of you who helped to put those fun packages together!
On March 24, a few of us had the chance to meet Ianna, her parents and her little brother and sister at the airport as they prepared to head out to the Big Island of Hawaii! We were able to help out as they worked their way through the airport and spend some fun time together as they waited to board the plane to head out on their adventure. When their trip was over, we had a crew at the airport to welcome them home and help them get to the shuttle. We were so happy to hear about a few of their adventures and see their tired but beautiful smiles. We exchanged gifts and hugs and our hearts were so full.
If we had written down our hopes for how we wanted this first Make-A-Wish adoption experience for our foundation to go, we don’t think we would have dared dream that it would be this wonderful! Ianna and her family thanked us for our part in making her wish come true, but honestly it is us who thank them. We thank them for letting us into their lives so fully and allowing us to be a part of their journey. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know this beautiful and loving family. They will forever have a piece of our hearts. We hope to keep in touch with them. They have even expressed a desire to, when they are able, pay it forward and work with us when we adopt another wish.
We are also so grateful to our foundation supporters for giving us this opportunity! We think this is a perfect example of what Rachel envisioned for her foundation. Hopefully by reading this story and seeing the pictures, you can feel the direct impact we have been able to make in our community. We look forward to adopting another wish for a local child in the coming months.