Wishes Come True
Bella seemed to know exactly why she was at Irelynn’s bedside on Wish day. She easily, quietly approached the 7-year-old, gently nuzzling her hand, making her dream of petting a horse come true. The next day, sweet Irelynn lost her battle with cancer. We are honored to have played this part in her life.
When Alexis’s cancer took a dangerous turn, her family had to cancel her first Wish trip. But the doctors eventually cleared the 7-year-old to travel to Hawaii to meet Moana, her favorite Disney princess. She and her family also got to snorkel, enjoy a luau, visit the island of Kauai, and be pampered at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa. “We can’t thank A Special Wish Foundation enough,” said Alexis’s mom. “We had the best time!"
Alexis’s Wish sponsor: “Distance 4 Dreams,” University of Dayton
It didn’t take long for Abigail to embrace the power of her Wish Pass at Disneyland. According to her mom, as Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (Abigail’s favorite ride) would be coming to an end, Abigail would just smile and wave her pass in the air. Then, off she would go for another ride—for as many trips as she wanted. Abigail’s mom loved how friendly and helpful all of the Disney staff were in making Abigail feel special. “We are still overwhelmed with everything,” she said of their trip. “We will never forget the wonderful experiences we had because of A Special Wish.”
Abigail’s Wish sponsor: Huber Heights Fire Department
Diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis, ten-year-old Wyatt has never let his disease stop him from celebrating life. When his Wish to go to Disney World was granted, Wyatt and his family were overjoyed. And while he loved the roller coasters and water rides, Wyatt’s mom shared that one of the best parts of the trip for him was the 24-hour ice cream parlor. Eating ice cream for breakfast is a simple thing, she said, but those are the things that Wyatt loves most.
Brooklyn was diagnosed in 2015 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of childhood cancer. When a family friend referred them to A Special Wish, Brooklyn’s wish to go to Disney World was granted. Brooklyn remembers that “They had a sign that had my name. It made me feel special.” One of the best parts of the trip for Brooklyn, though, happened outside the village: She got to go indoor sky diving, something she had seen one of her celebrity idols do. According to her mom, Brooklyn’s choice was just one more indication of her bravery.
Gemma was diagnosed at a young age with a genetic disorder so rare that it has yet to be named. As her body grows, she will also require periodic heart surgeries. But all of her medical issues didn’t stop Gemma from enjoying her visit to Walt Disney World. Although Gemma had to wait until she was six to make the trip, her mom, Krista, said that this “roller coaster junkie” made up for lost time. She rode every ride she could, and especially enjoyed the train rides around the village.
Gemma’s Wish sponsors: Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Pediatric Interest Group, Neumeister Family Foundation
Scarlett’s family received the news when she was one year old that she had neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that develops throughout the body from immature nerve cells. But thanks to a granted Wish, Scarlett’s time at Walt Disney World’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique helped fulfill her dream of becoming a princess. Scarlett’s mother, Lindsey, said that Scarlett “was used to not having hair. So, when [the fairy godmothers] put the fake hair on her, she looked and felt like a movie star. If you would’ve seen her face, it was priceless.”
Tristan is like many eighteen-year-old boys: He is a huge fan of basketball, Michael Jordan, and Nike shoes. But in one particular way he is different. When he was in his early teens, Tristan was diagnosed with an extremely rare germ cell tumor of the brain. But when a caseworker at Dayton Children’s Hospital connected him with A Special Wish, it seemed a slam dunk to grant his Wish for a special pair of Nikes. Through Nikes by You, Tristan was able to create his own signature shoe, one that changed color based on the light. To round out Tristan’s look, ASW sent him on a shopping spree for clothes and other sports equipment.
During Zack’s freshman football season, he was diagnosed with stage 2 fibrosarcoma (a rare cancer). Rather than choosing to have doctors fuse his left foot, which would have left Zack unable to run, he chose amputation and a prosthetic leg—a decision that would allow him to keep playing the sport he loves. When asked about a Wish choice, Zack immediately asked to go to the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Zack and his family spent the week of the Pro Bowl as special guests of NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz. Zack was also able to meet several of his favorite current NFL players.
Zack’s Wish sponsor: Cruise the Gate
When Hunter was two years old, his parents noticed he had swollen glands in his throat. Thinking he just had a case of strep throat, his mom and dad were devastated when the diagnosis turned out to be cancer. Because Hunter loved all things Pixar and Toy Story, his family chose to go to Walt Disney World as their Wish. From being invited by their Delta crew to sit in the cockpit before their flight, to taking racing lessons from Lightening McQueen himself, Hunter had an unforgettable trip.
Hunter’s Wish sponsor: Curves of Centerville
“I just wanted to have a place to hang out,” said 11-year-old Matthew Fox about his wish for a camper. So, when Matthew was diagnosed with craineophargeoma, a non-malignant tumor that would lead to several brain surgeries and additional aggressive treatments, A Special Wish partnered with two local businesses to make sure Matthew’s Wish came true. Matthew tires easily and struggles with crowds and lots of stimuli. But he is still a lover of the great outdoors—something that Matthew’s new camper makes much easier to enjoy.
When it comes to racing, Gavin and his dad agree on one thing: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is their guy. So, when Gavin, an eight-year-old struggling with cystic fibrosis, was asked what he’d like his Wish to be, he didn’t hesitate to say, “I want to race Dale Earnhardt, Jr!” With the support of JR Motorsports and several businesses in Huntersville, NC, A Special Wish made Gavin’s dream a reality. He raced Earnhardt, Jr. on the NASCAR legend’s personal go-kart track, and (after Gavin beat him) Number 88 even gave Gavin the helmet he wore when he won the Daytona 500.
After almost a year of daily calls and Skype sessions, Brandon Booth finally got to see his best friend, Sarah, in person. Brandon and Sarah had first met on a Facebook page that he manages, but after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Brandon wasn’t sure when, if ever, they actually might see each other for real. But with the help of A Special Wish, Brandon, his mom, and another close friend were able to fly to Providence, RI, where Sarah gave them a tour of her hometown, and where they explored the foodie scene and Six Flags amusement park.
Eight-year-old Shelby Lockhart loves Barbie Dolls, the color pink, and Luke Bryan. What makes her special is that, for Shelby, her bedroom is more than a place to sleep. It is where she spends a lot of her time as she recovers from each of her cancer treatments. With help from several Piqua businesses and A Special Wish, Shelby’s room got a makeover—complete with new furniture, bright pink paint and animal print bedding, a lava lamp, and a new TV.
Shelby’s Wish sponsors: Town and Country Furniture, Sherwin Williams, Jerry Sullenberger
Somehow 16-year-old Macy Gehle of Celina “makes it easy” for her family to cope with her cystic fibrosis. While CF dictates much of Macy’s life, dance is the bigger part of who she is. It only made sense, then, that when she learned that she qualified for a Wish, her first choice was to go to “Dancing with the Stars” and meet her favorite DWTS dancer, Derek Hough. Macy and her family had an amazing tour of Warner Brothers Studios and sat on the actual sets of “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Afterwards, Derek and the entire cast of DWTS treated Macy and her family to a backstage tour and pictures. The family then stayed for the live performances and were treated like royalty.
Izzy Chase Wehner suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood. But she has always dreamed of a life where she can make a difference, regardless of her diagnosis. In 2013, A Special Wish helped arrange for Izzy to be a guest of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during oral arguments. The justice then invited Izzy to join her in her chambers for about an hour afterward, where Ginsburg answered Izzy’s questions and talked about her own struggles with cancer. “Meeting with her definitely confirmed that I was studying the things I wanted to study, and that this is the path I wanted for my life,” Izzy said.