Meet Our Wish Ambassadors
Your support of Make-A-Wish helps to grant wishes across Illinois, children like Peter, Estefanny, Emmalyn and Drake.
As he landed in Orlando, five-year-old Peter from Lacon couldn’t contain his excitement. He was ready to meet his favorite character heroes at some of the Florida’s – and the world’s – best theme parks. What Peter didn’t know was that outside other heroes waited to surprise him. There at the gate was the local fire department ready to kick-off Peter’s incredible journey! Peter’s parents smiled and looked on, knowing this would be just one of the trip’s magical moments for the family to grow closer.
At birth, Peter was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition and has spent much of his time in and out of treatments. But the funny and sweet youngster keeps his spirits up with the help of his favorite characters! When Peter’s nurse referred him to Make-A-Wish® Illinois, it didn’t take long for him to decide on his perfect wish: a trip to Orlando’s theme parks to meet the stars that keep him smiling.
Now home, Peter and his parents are closer than ever. “We learned a little more about Pete,” his mom recalls, “and will forever cherish the memories.” As Peter happily remembers meeting his heroes and favorite characters, the lasting sense of hope, strength and joy that he gained on this trip shines brightly through his cheerful smile.
Many young girls dream of being a princess. But for 13-year-old Estefanny from Chicago, this dream became a reality. At age 10 Estefanny was diagnosed with Leukemia, and the side effects of her treatments make her very self-conscious. Esteffany’s nurse knew the bubbly, loving teen deserved to feel beautiful, so she referred her to Make-A-Wish® Illinois to give her a confidence boost.
When Estefanny met with her volunteer wish granters, she immediately knew that her perfect wish was a princess make-over! Estefanny’s royal day began with a trip to the cosmetics counter for professional makeup. Next, she and her sisters were treated to a shopping spree, where Estefanny bought all of the beautiful clothes and accessories a princess could need! Finally, a limo ride home completed the majestic day.
Now, when Esteffany looks in the mirror she sees a real live princess. The hope, strength and joy Estefanny gained from her wish will give her the confidence she needs to take on any obstacle.
When volunteer wish granters asked seven-year-old Emmalyn from Mount Morris for her one true wish, the little girl’s eyes grew wide. Having never been to a beach before, beautiful coastlines filled her imagination – feeling the sand tickle her toes, watching palm trees sway in the breeze, and building sandcastles with her brother.
At two, Emmalyn was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. Among the many doctors’ appointments and hospital visits, it is hard for Emmalyn to find time to just be a kid. Last year, her family contacted Make-A-Wish® Illinois in hopes that Emmalyn could experience a few care-free days.
When they arrived in Honolulu they immediately darted to the beach. Emmalyn could not get enough of the crashing waves and ocean breeze. A traditional Hawaiian luau and surfing lessons gave Emmalyn a taste of island life, and the bright youngster made sure to visit the sandy shores again and again. As her mom recalled, this trip “made her feel like a normal child.”
Seven-year-old Drake from Downers Grove spends most of his time in a wheelchair. Often, he isn’t able to do all the fun things on vacation. But this trip was different. As Drake watched the dolphins swimming, he smiled. Finally, he had the chance to do something extraordinary – meet his favorite animal in the most beautiful place he could imagine!
As an infant, Drake was diagnosed with a rare brain disease. His condition impacts his motor skills and Drake relies on his family to get around. Drake’s parents saw the toll on the young boy and contacted Make-A-Wish® Illinois to provide him with encouragement. When Drake met with his volunteer wish granters, it didn’t take long to wish for something he “never thought possible” – a Hawaiian vacation!
Drake’s trip was tailor made. For once in his life, he didn’t have to watch as others had all the fun. “He got to experience things he never could have without Make-A-Wish,” his father reflected. “On that trip, his condition did not define him. He was a happy little boy having a great experience.”
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