The sun is shining and the water is bright blue. Miranda starts paddling toward the beach, feeling the waves beginning to crest. She jumps up to ride the wave, feeling the wind in her face, and smiles. It’s hard to imagine that only one year earlier, this adventurous 17-year-old was confined to a hospital room with a 30 percent chance of survival.
The summer before her sophomore year of high school, Miranda was struggling with constant back pain. After months of visiting a chiropractor with no relief, she went to her doctor, fearing she had slipped a disc. Her MRI revealed a tumor in her lower back, and she was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.
“Everything changed,” said Miranda’s mom, Julie. “We were devastated but didn’t have much time to process what had happened because her rigorous and aggressive treatment had already started.”
Miranda received chemo every two weeks for nine months, along with radiation and multiple surgeries. She lost nearly everything: weight, energy, hair, friends and her favorite activities, but she didn’t lose her spirit. When she discovered she would be granted a wish from Make-A-Wish Minnesota, her spirits got an extra boost.
“It gave me something to look forward to,” Miranda said. “It was so hard watching everyone live their lives while mine was on pause. That time during treatment was so dark, and my wish was the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Finally, her wish day arrived, and Miranda and her family were off to spend a fabulous week in the tropical Hawaiian sunshine. They went snorkeling, surfing and whale watching. They also experienced a VIP luau and celebrated being together as a family again.
“I didn’t realize how traumatized we’d all been these past months, and the healing that was left to do,” Julie said. “Hawaii was a time of celebrating and embracing life. We were present in such a real and wonderful way, and for the first time since her diagnosis I didn’t worry – about anything.”
Miranda smiled all the time during her trip. After fighting her disease for so long, she was able to celebrate the end of her treatments with the people she loves the most. “My wish trip was everything I hoped it would be and then some,” she said.
Miranda’s wish gave her a life-changing experience shared by nearly 5,000 children throughout Minnesota. Your support over the past 35 years has helped create these amazing experiences. We are grateful to celebrate 35 years of wishes, and look forward to 35 more!
To learn more about how you can make a gift, or get involved, visit Ways To Help.