Olivia’s wish was an incredible adventure for her and her family, giving her the vacation she always imagined. Five years later, Olivia still believes in the impact it had on her life.
“I’ve always loved the ocean,” said Olivia, who was diagnosed with life-threatening cystic fibrosis. “I wanted a wish where I could travel somewhere exciting and experience the rush and adrenaline of a new ocean experience.”
Her wish – to swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove – was the trip of a lifetime!
To start, Make-A-Wish Arizona surprised Olivia with a send-off party at a local aquarium.
“It was so perfect!” said her mom, Amy. “She was seven at the time, so professionals from the aquarium met with her to explain how the fish are fed and let her observe the sharks from the top of the tank.”
Olivia traveled to Florida along with her sister, Madeline, who is also diagnosed with life-threatening cystic fibrosis and a Make-A-Wish Arizona wish kid.
The wish included visits to Sea World, a huge water park and Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park.
“I snorkeled for the first time and it was such a surreal experience,” said Olivia. “We even swam with stingrays, which was a little scary.”
Of course, her favorite part was swimming with the dolphins.
“They feel like rain boots and they’re so slippery!” Olivia said with a laugh. “We loved holding on to their fins and getting pulled to shore. They are so smart and well trained!”
Amy was impressed with the way Make-A-Wish Arizona focused on her daughter to deliver a wish perfectly tailored to Olivia.
“Every volunteer made Olivia feel special and I am amazed how her wish was so carefully planned to accommodate her condition,” said Amy. “It truly means the world to Olivia and our family.”
Now 11 years old, Olivia realizes how special her wish was, in the face of her battle with cystic fibrosis.
“I was so young, I wasn’t thinking about the wish changing my life,” said Olivia. “Looking back on this experience, I am so thankful for Make-A-Wish Arizona. I will continue to face the challenges of my condition, but I will always have these wonderful memories of my wish.”