When I was 17 years old I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It was the beginning of my senior year of high school, and it was not at all what I had in mind for my final year of high school. Like most teenage girls, I was thinking about football season, homecoming, dance competition, prom and spending a lot of time with my friends - but my diagnosis quickly and significantly changed the trajectory of my life. I remember shortly after I was diagnosed, a child life specialist entered my hospital room to talk about Make-A-Wish. I immediately turned my back on her. Emotionally, it was too much for me. I always thought Make-A-Wish was for kids who were at the end of life, and I couldn't bear to think that was where I was. Afterwards, my mom explained to me that it was for kids with life-threatening illnesses, and it was something special that I could look forward to when I was well again. Make-A-Wish ended up being the biggest blessing in the midst of the hardest time of my life.
My wish was to go to New York City with my family for a shopping spree. That seemed like the perfect wish for a teenage girl - and it absolutely was. We took a carriage ride in Central Park, went to see Wicked on Broadway, went to the zoo, toured the city, and shopped.
Towards the end of my treatment, my doctors had noticed that I had developed severe nerve damage in my legs and feet. Just months prior, I was dancing on the football field with my dance team at half time, and now I was bound to a wheelchair, unable to walk on my own. My "wish trip" gave me something to look forward to and work towards in my physical therapy. I refused to bring my wheelchair on the trip, and I worked hard so that I only had to use my leg braces to walk around the city. I felt "normal" again.
That trip gave me, my parents, and my brother an escape. It was an escape from the doctors appointments and everything that had become the new normal, to where we could all take a step back and be thankful that the treatment was finally over. The after effects of the chemo and the toll it had taken on my body was by far the worst part, and Make-A-Wish gave me hope and joy in the midst of it. Make-A-Wish isn't only for the wish kid, it is also for the family who has had their life completely turned upside down. It is for the siblings who have watched their brother or sister go through something they cannot fully understand. It is for the parents who have sacrificed so much to do everything possible to help their child. I will forever be thankful for Make-A-Wish and the gift they gave my family and me during the hardest time of my life.
Now, I am going Over The Edge - literally - at 9am on June 10th, to raise funds and awareness for Make-A-Wish® Central & South Texas.
I want to help our CSTX family grant wishes to kids like me so that they can have that life-affirming power of a wish. Please help Board Chair Susie Gray and the Make-A-Wish community to raise $5,000 to grant one wish.
********* About Over The Edge *********
Over The Edge challenges you to face your fears, catch your breath, step up to the edge and rappel 38 stories down W Austin in the heart of downtown to help grant 100 wishes; one-third of the 300 that will be granted this year. The first 200 fundraisers to raise a minimum of $2,000 will earn a spot to go Over The Edge.
More than 500 children in central and south Texas are diagnosed each year with a life-threatening medical condition. Last year, Make-A-Wish® Central & South Texas granted 266 wishes for local children. You can help Make-A-Wish® reach more of these children and create hope, strength and joy in their lives. Money raised by rappellers goes towards granting these wishes.
You can also rappel with me by signing up to go Over The Edge too! Click here to register.
I hope you can help me reach my goal and help make a difference in the lives of children who need it most!
For more information on Over The Edge, be sure to visit: www.AustinOverTheEdge.com
Thank you for helping me reach my pledge goal and giving to Make-A-Wish® Central & South Texas. To donate by credit card please click on the link above.
For Cash and Check Donations, please mail or drop them off at the Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas office.
Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas