After spending most of my teenage years battling a life-threatening medical condition, I had no choice but to move on from my experiences with the chemo and radiation therapy.
I had to enroll myself into college and apply for financial aid just like all the other kids in my high school graduating class. But how I got to this moment was so different compared to the other kids my age.
I felt like I missed out on what was meant to be the peak of my adolescent years. Rather than going to the dances, attending the slumber parties with the girls, running outside and just doing the things that a young teenage girl is ‘supposed’ to do, I was at home, sleeping most of the time because cancer had shut me out of the things I had suddenly thought were important for me to experience.
During a time I had to miss out on so much, Make-A-Wish® North Texas gave me the excitement of experiencing something that I'd always dreamed of doing. To breathe in the air in Italy.
Make-A-Wish® flew me and my family to Italy where I visited Rome, Florence and even Venice. I got to see all of the breathtaking sights, photograph all of the beautiful landmarks, shop and eat amazing food. I spoke with strangers and lived my life as happily as I had ever lived it, right there in the place I never thought I would be able to visit. My week in Italy was very well spent. I made sure to not waste a minute of the day. I visited all the museums that I could, I walked inside every cathedral I could gain access to and walked around each city I visited for as long as my legs could take me. I took advantage of every minute I had there.
Simply saying that my trip to Italy was amazing or the best trip ever is not enough. Since I stepped foot off the plane upon my return from Italy, I've been determined to go back to continue my adventures.
Looking back, it makes me realize that missing out on the “peak of my teenage years” didn't even matter because I got to do something SO much greater. Make-A-Wish not only granted my lifelong wish, they also gave me hope.