“My daughter Sydney was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition when she was a teenager. She wished to go to Puerto Rico so she could snorkel and spend time at the beach,” said Wendy. “Sydney is now 28 years old and is doing well. She has volunteered in Africa, and has owned her own dog-sitting business.”
Wendy has had a few jobs too. She has worked in intensive care, the Cardiac ICU, and general pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and most recently at Banner Children’s Hospital. In all her work with pediatric patients, Wendy is an important Make-A-Wish ambassador, often addressing one common misconception many families and medical professionals have about Make-A-Wish.
“People often believe Make-A-Wish wishes are just for ‘dying kids,’ but that is not true. Make-A-Wish serves children with critical illnesses and the way I present the concept of a wish is that it’s truly a special gift for families who have been through so much,” said Wendy. “It’s something to help distract them from their illness.”
Wendy has observed the effect of wishes in several of her patients, stories she can share with families during the referral process.
“I had a patient who was feeling so sick and depressed and her trip had to be postponed due to treatment, but once she was on her wish trip, her mom was texting me pictures of her smiling ear-to-ear,” she said. “Her parents told me they hadn’t seen her this happy in such a long time.
“I experienced the same thing with my daughter and saw the impact the wish made on my daughter’s life,” she continued. “We will never forget her experience, a time she was able to be free of her illness and really focus on herself. It is priceless. I think Make-A-Wish is the greatest thing in the world especially and I will continue to tell everyone who listens.”