Bernice and her mother, Anahi, have been through a lot together, and they’ve always relied on each other for support.
“When Bernice was 3 years old, she had a blood clot on her left leg (Deep Vein thrombosis) that clot was able to travel to her heart and required Bernice to go through a five-hour surgery,” said Anahi. “She was diagnosed with a lifelong condition that affects her blood and requires Bernice to take medication and goes through a series of tests each week.”
“Last year, Bernice was feeling more pain than usual and was admitted to the hospital because of another blood clot,” she continued. “We were in the hospital for a week when I noticed a pamphlet about Make-A-Wish Arizona and decided to refer Bernice for a wish.”
Bernice had several ideas for her wish, but the most important aspect was an experience both her and her mom could enjoy together.
“My mom takes care of me and does everything for me. When I’m in pain I see that she’s in pain too,” said Bernice.
“We both love Disney and we’ve been to Disneyland but neither of us had been to the Bahamas before, so I wished for us to go on the Disney Cruise Line together!”
While Bernice’s wish granters planned out the details, Anahi managed to keep her daughter’s wish a secret until everything was set in motion.
“I was really sad because a few months went by and I wasn’t sure if my wish was going to be possible, but one day my mom took me to Main Event to cheer me up,” said Bernice. “She was trying to keep my eyes focused on my phone – which wasn’t that hard – so I wouldn’t see my wish granters at first, then I looked up and they told me my wish was coming true!”
“I was going to do everything I’d hoped like snorkeling in the clear blue water and going to the beach and I started to cry because I couldn’t believe I was going.”
On the way to the airport, Bernice and her mom had a busy day where they met her wish Volunteer Ruby and two other Make-A-Wish Arizona kids headed on their wishes.
“I went up in the front of the plane and got to meet the pilot and see the cockpit, that was so cool,” said Bernice. “Then, once we arrived in Florida and boarded the cruise ship, they announced our arrival like we were celebrities!”
Each day was a new adventure for Bernice and her mom.
“This came at the perfect time for Bernice after a really hard year. We were able to visit Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, went on an excursion where we snorkeled in the ocean” said Anahi.
There were lots of activities on board as well, like fancy dinners, different contests, meet-and-greets with characters like Mickey Mouse and live production shows.
“Bernice couldn’t stop smiling and it made me emotional to see her so happy,” Anahi continued. “My favorite princess is Belle and Bernice actually ran down to save us seats for the live Beauty and The Beast show one night because she was so excited for us to see it together.”
“Even when I was hurting, the crew members supported me and all the activities on board motivated me get up and leave my room,” said Bernice. “It made me feel like people really care about me and I was thinking about how much fun I was having, instead of being in pain.”
Bernice also enjoyed the quieter moments, where she could relax and felt at ease.
“I love the sea and the sky more than anything. I would look up at the stars each night and it made me feel so happy and peaceful.”
Now Bernice has started eighth grade and she’s gone from needing physical therapy two times a week to only once a week.
“I’m excited that I’m feeling better and I’m hoping to join the cross-country team this year,” said Bernice. “My friends are really glad that my wish came true, not because they wish they could have gone, or it sounded like a fun trip, but because they are truly happy for me and they see how much this trip has meant to me and my mom.”
“When I’m older I want to become a registered nurse, so I can help people and help other kids get their wishes, too.”