When Gaby was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, her world was turned upside down.
Normal day-to-day activities like going to school and hanging out with friends were replaced with doctor visits, hospitalizations, infusions and surgeries. After facing physical, emotional, financial and even spiritual struggles, Gaby’s family hoped for any form of relief.
“When illness strikes, a parent suddenly adapts to a new role of being a warrior and advocate for their child. We didn’t know if or when healing would come and what our daughter’s future held,” said Gaby’s mom, Leslie. “When Make-A-Wish Arizona came into our lives, we could focus on something to look forward to for the first time in three years.”
Since she can remember, Gaby has always been fascinated with French culture, fashion and architecture. It was no surprise her one true wish – to visit Paris with her family last summer – turned out to be the experience they all needed.
“Before my wish, Paris seemed like a surreal place I had only seen in pictures,” said Gaby. “But from the moment I stepped foot in the city, it was more magical and beautiful than I had ever imagined!”
Gaby and her family loved seeing iconic Paris landmarks like Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Arc de Triomphe and Palace of Versailles. One of her favorite parts was driving through the city and watching the Eiffel Tower peek out from the tops of buildings for the first time.
Throughout her wish, Gaby had a blast tasting famous macaroons at Laduree and walking along the high-fashion shops of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.
“I learned so much about the French culture that I love,” said Gaby. “The streets are lined with artists, musicians and flower markets and first thing every morning we made sure to stop by a bakery for pastries and croissants!”
From seeing the Mona Lisa at the Musee du Louvre to dining on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, Gaby said her wish made her feel something that no words can describe.
“This was the most AMAZING experience of my life and I will always hold in my heart,” Gaby said.
Since returning home, Gaby’s family said her wish has even helped her overcome some of her fears.
“We were able to see Gaby blossom as a young woman as she led us from Metro to Metro with so much wonder and excitement,” said Leslie. “Instead of worrying about the constant reminders of her illness, we saw a brave and adventurous side of our daughter and her wish gave us memories we will always cherish.”
In the future, Gaby hopes to one day live in Paris.
“I cannot express my gratitude enough for this wonderful experience,” said Gaby. “I never imagined I would be able to visit Paris in my lifetime and Make-A-Wish Arizona made all of this possible - helping me love this city even more.”