8.21.2007

make-a-wish

If you're looking for something to do in your spare time, I highly recommend becoming a wish granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tonight I had the opportunity to have dinner with Tianna, a sweet 17-year old girl (stricken with Hodgkin's disease) who is about to set sail on a 5-day Disney Cruise in Orlando, Florida. Tianna, her darling boyfriend (who at 17-years old is absolutely incredible and attentive), Tianna's mom, Tianna's longest childhood girlfriend and her mom, myself and my wish granting partner ate at Outback Steakhouse, Tianna's favorite restaurant. Tianna had no idea that we were going to whisk her away in a limo and treat her to one of her favorite meals. While she had just taken some medication to ease pain from a recent procedure and an upset stomach, she tried to really enjoy herself and be present to remember this exciting evening. Unfortunately, her medication makes her extremely tired so she was having a hard time keeping her eyes open and she also wasn't hungry. Thankfully, lots of photos were taken and her giant steak dinner was wrapped up for her to enjoy after the medication wears off (which her boyfriend lovingly cut in to little pieces because she didn't have enough strength to cut through the thick steak herself). During dinner we presented her with a travel bag filled with her favorite things - a Kelly Clarkson CD, a DVD, some jammies, girlie magazines, a cute polka dot scarf, a hat, travel size goodies and $750 spending money. She leaves on Saturday where she will fly to Orlando with all of tonight's dinner guests (minus the jealous boyfriend and us envious wish granters). Unfortunately, she hasn't been very well lately and has been in and out of the hospital over the last several weeks. Her doctors wanted to make sure she would be well enough for this trip so they put her on some special treatment plan, but when she returns she'll be back to her regular regimen. I pray this trip refuels her energy, her spirits, her inspiration and her fight. When I first met Tianna back in January, she was stronger and healthier, but she took a turn for the worse in May and has been fighting to get healthy. She is an incredible girl with big dreams and lofty aspirations - I hope she can beat this crappy disease so she can start preparing for her future. Something about her gives me the peace that she'll be okay soon.

Even though I had to fight back the tears when I hugged her skinny body, brushed my hands through her red wig (she selected a good color though), watched her tired eyes, her desire to enjoy the night and her boyfriend hold her up as she walked, I was so honored to be a Make-A-Wish volunteer and a part of this special night in Tianna's life. I'm new to this organization and have only done two wishes now. I've been told some wishes are easier than others. When I first worked on this wish, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I thought, "She's totally healthy. She doesn't even look like she has cancer." I even talked my friend Emily into becoming a volunteer (well, maybe not after she reads this blog entry). I told her, "It's great! The kids are sick, but it's not sad." Well, after I visited her in the hospital back in May and after tonight's dinner, I was wrong. Tonight was incredibly hard. And I also realized that I need to be doing this more often.

Praying for Tianna and her family...

8 comments:

Laura Tucker said...

You're doing a wonderful thing by volunteering for Make-A-Wish, Alyssa!

amber said...

okay, seriously, were we separated at birth?!? ;-) i volunteer at camp ronald mcdonald for good times and this make a wish volunteer opportunity sounds like something that i would LOVE doing. thanks so much for this post. i'm running off to look right after i finish this!

Casey said...

what a great feeling to know that you helped make someone's day! you brought a little tear to my eyes!

R said...

This makes me both happy and embarrassed at the same time. Happy because there are people like you who are giving of themselves, and embarrassed because I should do more for other people who deserve/need it. It's hard, but hang in there! You're doing something really great and I'm sure she and her family appreciate it.

WeezerMonkey said...

It's so great that you're granting wishes. You have the biggest heart! :)

Mrs. D said...

This sounds like a wonderful thing to be a part of. Good for you!

emily said...

i can't wait to be a granter with you! we'll make a great team! miss you!

Jolene said...

I am in tears right now. I haven't been able to make it to an orientation yet...they've been during the week and I've been busy both times. I can't wait to start doing this. You inspire me.