When Christina was just 14, her life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with AML, a very aggressive form of leukemia. Typically, less than 20% of survivors live beyond five years, but this condition obviously didn’t know who it was going up against. Christina was a Level 9 gymnast with a sense of vigor and motivation like no other; despite hospital isolation and chemotherapy treatments, Christina never lost faith or gave up.
Soon enough, things began looking brighter as Make-A-Wish came to Christina and her mom and gave them the great news that she would have her heartfelt wish granted. As a ‘90s teen, Christina wished to go on the set of a popular TV show and meet the cast. In October 2001, exactly one year after her diagnosis, Christina was flown out to the set with her mom, sister and best friend. The cast gave Christina the most magical day, spending hours with her backstage, inviting her family to off-site locations, giving her gifts – including the script – and even offering her a brief cameo in the episode they were shooting! (Well, technically her hand had a cameo in the shot, but it was still very cool.)
As Christina arrived at the airport for her wish, she told her mom, “Make-A-Wish is my dream job. Someday I will work for that organization.” Eventually, that wish also came true as Christina joined the Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana team as an administrative coordinator. During her time here, Christina viewed each day as an opportunity to wish it forward and help provide the powerful wish experience she received to local kids facing similar obstacles.
Christina’s wish experience not only impacted her life for the better, but it also led her to impact the lives of so many others. In her time working at Make-A-Wish, she always went above and beyond to light up the office and brighten the days of everyone she talked to. One of my first memories as a Columbus intern is how I felt instantly at home here, and it was largely due to Christina’s warm welcome. First-day jitters can be tough, but knowing that you’re going to be making a difference for kids like Christina while working alongside people like her too, how could you feel anything but excited? Christina’s story showed me firsthand how incredible and rewarding our work is here at Make-A-Wish and, most of all, just how strong the power of a wish can be.
Joining the Make-A-Wish team is one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made, and I count myself lucky every single day to be able to help make wishes like Christina’s come true. If you’d like to join our team too, click here for current opportunities!
Is there a wish story close to your own heart that you'd like to share? Leave a comment below and tell us about your wonderful wish kid!