At the age of 16, Serenity had been dealing with the day-to-day needs of her incurable illness, cystic fibrosis, and she was feeling a little tired of it.
“Cystic fibrosis affects her lungs, digestive system and other organs of her body,” said her grandmother, Susan. “Serenity is always on some form of antibiotics for different infections, but she wasn’t very good about taking her medications or complying with treatments.”
During one of her routine appointments, Serenity’s specialist mentioned Make-A-Wish.
“At first I thought ‘oh no, what’s wrong with her?’ But then we were told many kids with cystic fibrosis receive a wish, and I saw it as an opportunity,” said Susan. “I thought maybe if Serenity had something to look forward to, she might start to follow her doctors’ orders more carefully.”
Serenity wished for a Mediterranean cruise, so she could visit a different part of the world and fully immerse herself in its culture. It turned out her wish was just the medicine she needed to fully immerse herself in her future too.
“Her whole temperament and mood changed,” said Susan. “She became much more serious about taking her medications because she wanted to be ready for her wish, and she wasn’t focusing on her condition, or how she felt. It was more about all the things she would do on her wish. It was wonderful to see this excitement in her.”
“I learned about this really old church in Spain, the Sagrada Familia, and I’ve wanted to visit it ever since,” said Serenity. “I was excited to see other historic sites and I wanted to go to the ocean because you always hear about the beautiful blue water.”
Once they boarded the cruise ship in Spain, Susan noticed the wish not only helped Serenity’s mindset, but her physical health as well.
“Many people with cystic fibrosis need a lot of salt in their system and the salt water in the air helped clear her lungs,” said Susan. “Serenity was able to breathe better and be much more active in this environment. I can’t think of a better choice for her wish.”
Serenity and her grandmother enjoyed the beautiful beaches of the Amalfi Coast and they visited La Boqueria, a famous market in Spain, before heading to the Sagrada Familia to really experience the church in person.
“The trip was so much better than I expected because I could explore so many places,” said Serenity. “My favorite part was seeing the Sagrada Familia and visiting this little town in Italy that had the best food ever.”
Since her wish, Serenity is focused on staying healthy while planning for college.
“I think a wish pushes kids past the boundaries of their imagination and gives hope for what you can do with your future,” Serenity said. “I want to see the world and go to more amazing places, and I realized if I stay healthy, then I maybe I can continue to do these things.”
“Make-A-Wish Arizona added a whole new dynamic to Serenity’s life and the benefits of her wish didn’t just stop after we returned,” said Susan. “This experience made Serenity realize that she has to be healthy to move forward with her life. It showed her there is a world she can explore – even with her condition.”