"I’ve known about Make-A-Wish for a very long time, but it wasn’t apparent to me the difference it makes in kids' lives until I was in my pediatric residency,” shared Dr. Kopp, who noticed a change in the disposition of her patients who were planning or getting ready to leave on their wish.
When speaking to a patient who was in the midst of their wish journey, Dr. Kopp could both see and hear their excitement.
"A wish is an amazing experience for a child going through life-altering treatment," she said. "When my patients find out they can receive a wish, I see their attitudes improve and hope illuminated in their eyes."
Dr. Kopp also noticed that patients who were planning their wishes during treatment took extra care to follow instructions and schedules. They used their wishes as a happy distraction during tough times – a way to think about the future instead of focusing on their present worries.
"I really feel a wish is part of the treatment."
"A wish is something children have to look forward to - the light at the end of the tunnel," she said. "Even after the wish, you can see how the experience not only affects the child, but brings the entire family closer together. It has an impact on everyone involved."
Dr. Kopp has had many patients go on wishes; however, one memory specifically comes to mind when she thinks about Make-A-Wish.
"I had a patient, Dorothy, who was 5 at the time and became good friends with another patient, Bryce," she said. "Dorothy and Bryce, along with their families, grew so close that they went on their wish to Walt Disney World together. I thought that was just remarkable.”
"I’m so grateful for Make-A-Wish Arizona,” she adds. “It makes such a difference in the lives of my patients during and after treatment. Plus, it provides a happy memory during a tough time for the rest of their lives.”