Becca was nine years old when she received her wish to have her own playhouse in 2002.
“I have always loved dollhouses. Every Christmas, I would get a new one,” says Becca, now 22. “But my wish was to have a dollhouse big enough that I could actually fit inside of it!”
“I didn’t think it was possible to get my wish because I wanted a playhouse that was big enough to play inside, but it also needed to have air conditioning due to our hot Phoenix summers.”
Becca was ecstatic when she learned her wish would be granted. Even better, she was allowed to help design it just the way she had always imagined it would look. “I wanted it to look like a little cottage,” she says, “with shutters and a front door that could open at the top, and a porch.”
Since blue has always been, and still is, her favorite color, the outside of the playhouse was dark teal, and the inside was painted a beautiful sky blue. A wooden bridge over the yard’s irrigation channel completed the storytale effect.
Born with a congenital heart defect that had led to pulmonary hypertension – lung disease, Becca recalls her wish granting as an unbelievably happy moment in a life filled with medical difficulties and surgeries. She recalls the big reveal party when the playhouse was ready, with the many family and friends who have supported her in attendance. “I was ecstatic. I remember thinking, yes, I’m sick. But, I’m also celebrating that I’m still alive to have this wish come true. It’s amazing!”
While Becca no longer plays in it, the playhouse continues to be a source of inspiration and fond memories. Each morning, she sits at the kitchen table for breakfast, looking out the window at her wish. Her family decorates it for each holiday – a haunted house for Halloween, a gingerbread house for Christmas. And, her many nieces and nephews can be found inside when visiting.
Becca was not the only one in her family to be impacted by Make-A-Wish Arizona. She also has fond memories of her sister Misty’s wish. “My sister was born with a heart defect and her wish was to be a model for a day,” Becca recalls. “Our whole family flew with her to New York. We tried on all kinds of clothes and met people from “America’s Next Top Model.” I was able to see how a wish impacted my sister. She still talks about it.”
Becca couldn’t believe there was an organization that makes wishes like hers come true. “It affects you for the rest of your life,” she notes. “You’ll always remember it. There is so much pain living with a life-threatening illness. Make-A-Wish is a silver lining.”
In the years since her wish came true, Becca has been through some tough times of illness. At age 12, she received a double heart-valve replacement, only to contract a MRSA infection. Now 22, she says she’s doing pretty well. She’s had to get a pacemaker and took a semester off of school last spring following hospitalization for fluid overload. She recently traveled to Pittsburgh to be evaluated for a heart/lung double transplant. Through it all, she continues to share her Make-A-Wish story with other kids she has met through a camp for kids with congenital heart defects, encouraging them to ask for a wish.
“We know so many wish recipients now,” she says. “And not one has been disappointed.”