When I was only 6 years old, I got the unimaginable opportunity to go to Disney World with my whole family––Mom, Dad, and three sisters. One of the best things a 6-year-old can experience. I realized the amazing gift we had been given, but I was young and purely focused on all of the cool characters I would get to meet, thanks to Make-A-Wish. My oldest sister, who was 10 years old at the time of our trip, has Rett Syndrome––not many people know about it––but it impacted her starting at a young age. Growing up under these circumstances wasn’t always easy and I can only imagine what my parents dealt with, but Make-A-Wish gave us the chance to set that aside and just be kids (including my parents!). I’ll always be grateful for that week full of big rides, wild face paint, and quality pool time down in Orlando, a week I’ll never forget.
More importantly, it was a week my sister, Paige, will never forget. While this trip occurred 15 years ago and Paige is nonverbal due to Rett, I can vividly remember her undeniable happiness throughout the entire journey: the limo that took us to the airport, the amount of Disney movies we watched on a giant screen, and all the of time she got to relax around other kids like her, experiencing their wishes come true. Every child dealing with a critical illness deserves to have a wish granted, the experience is life-changing for many of them. Although Paige is my big sister and I was much younger at the time of our trip, seeing her reactions shaped me as a sibling of someone with a disability. Even at 6 years old I was gaining perspective on life. If Paige can brighten up a room with her infectious smile and allow herself to put worry aside, despite all of what the world has given her, why can’t we all?
Fast forward 12 years later to accepting my bid as a Chi Omega, so excited to reconnect with the organization that gave my family a week of pure happiness. We celebrated a wish our chapter had granted by throwing a “wish party” only a month after I had joined. We invited Chloe to our house to celebrate her recent Disney trip, all thanks to Make-A-Wish. I felt like I was able to relive all of the experiences I had from my experience on a wish trip, specifically to Disney, when hearing all of her memories from a couple weeks prior. Her mother, also in attendance of this wish party, raved about all of the princesses Chloe got to meet, awed over the amazing rides, and all of the quality time she was so grateful to spend with her daughter. I’m thankful that this was one of my first experiences upon becoming a member of Chi Omega and how those experiences have continued among each semester up to my senior year. Whether it’s airport sendoffs, fundraising events, or wish parties, I’ll always be grateful for all that Make-A-Wish gives. I’m thankful now, for the opportunity to give back to the organization that gave my family something so special.
Learn more about the Chi Omega and Make-A-Wish partnership at wish.org/chiomega