Melissa is currently Make-A-Wish Arizona wish granter, but she experienced the power of a wish long before she became a volunteer.
That’s because Melissa has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening illness that affected not only Melissa, but also her twin sister. She was regularly receiving treatment when, in 1990, Melissa was granted a wish to go to the Walt Disney World resort with her family.
“My twin sister and I loved watching Disney movies. We had to stay the house a lot doing our many medical treatments, so watching the movies was something fun we could enjoy. The thought of going somewhere like Disney World and having fun interactions with the characters definitely seemed like just a dream to us.”
This dream became a reality for Melissa when her wish granters revealed that her wish was coming true.
“With all the special care and health challenges multiplied by two, vacations weren't something that we did because of the challenges that came with it," said Melissa. “The whole time I really felt normal, just having fun and being on our first ever real family vacation.”
Melissa met Disney characters, enjoyed all the attractions, and spent time with her family having fun.
“To know individual people and an entire organization cares about what you are going through and wants to create something special just for you, something your heart desires, stays with you forever,” said Melissa.
“When I was old enough, I decided to volunteer because the joy I felt from my wish and the kindness and love my whole family felt from Make-A-Wish has never left me all these years later.”
Not only does Melissa help create imaginative and exciting wishes for children in her community, she can personally relate to the wish kids and because of her experience. In fact, every time she sends one off, Melissa knows exactly what they are going to tell her when they return.
“My wish trip had an end, but the feeling of joy and hope from it never ended,” she said. ”To be able to share in that joy through volunteering really helps me continue to expand the power of my wish.”
For more information on becoming a wish granter volunteer, please click here.