Being a teenager isn't easy, but it is especially challenging for Anna, a 13-year-old battling osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone. Although Anna’s condition is a daily struggle, she doesn't let it diminish her spunky personality or stop her from living every day to the fullest.
Anna may live in the Midwest, but she has always dreamed of sand and sunshine. She wished to go to Atlantis, Paradise Island and swim with dolphins.
In January of 2013, Anna and her family left the cold weather behind and headed to the Bahamas for their tropical getaway. After enduring a stressful medical routine for months, the family was finally able to relax and simply enjoy spending time with one another. “For everybody it was a healing process. Over the course of the year [Anna’s siblings] felt forgotten, so it was a big part of coming together as a family,” says Anna’s mother.
Anna and her family did not waste a second of their special trip. They enjoyed soaking up the sunshine, spending time at the pool and, of course, swimming with dolphins. Together, they even braved an exhilarating waterslide called the “Leap of Faith,” which Anna described as freeing. As she rushed down the slide, Anna’s medical condition was the last thing on her mind. For that moment, and for the entire week, she got to focus on nothing more than making lifelong memories with her family.
Anna’s mother is grateful for the hope and joy Anna’s wish provided. “It gives you something to look forward to,” she says of the wish experience. “I do believe it was a huge part of her healing process.”