Rachelle's wish gave her something to look forward to

When Rachelle was 11-years-old, she loved pizza, her pet cat Dave, the colour pink, the ocean and turtles. She was also living with an arachnoid cyst in the left temporal lobe of her brain. She heard about Make-A-Wish from staff at the hospital, and in the summer of 2011, she and her family headed out on her wish trip to Maui. “I chose my wish as I love the ocean and at the time must have been learning about turtles,” says Rachelle. “I remember the fun my three sisters and I had thinking of all the possible things I could wish for!”

 “The trip created such excitement in our home for the first time in a long time,” Rachelle’s parents noted. “We had something to look forward to besides just being focused on doctor’s appointments.” Rachelle adds, “The wish experience was a very positive and exciting time, and gave us something to look forward to while going through the healing process of brain surgery.”

While in Hawaii, Rachelle and her family took a catamaran tour and went snorkeling (allowing Rachelle to meet her beloved turtles). They also took surfing lessons and enjoyed a luau. The best part, though, was the chance to focus on something besides Rachelle’s health, both before and during the trip. “Having the wish made the time I was sick less traumatic, gave me something to look forward to and changed my mindset from stressed to excited. It gave my family something to plan and talk about besides my medical appointments and brain injury rehabilitation,” says Rachelle.

Today Rachelle is 17, has graduated from high school and works as a healthcare aide in a continuing care centre. She volunteers for a mental health foundation and has applied to attend college in the fall to obtain her LPN so she can work in a hospital setting. She and her family also gave back to Make-A-Wish. “The wish experience was so profound and affected our family afterwards in a pay-it-forward way since we were so grateful for the experience we had. I did an art tour of my paintings to raise funds for Make-A-Wish. My family also organized several events to raise funds, and we were able to grant wishes for other children.” 

Rachelle reflects on her wish trip fondly. “When I look back I’m happy I chose the wish I did as I made so many great memories with my family. We still talk about our trip today and hope to go back to Hawaii now that I'm older.”

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