Sydney had no idea she was sick before physicians officially diagnosed her with Crohn's Disease. Shortly thereafter, the 16-year-old was also told she had a rare genetic chromosome that would require her to have surgery on her heart and thyroid.
“Lots of my mom’s patients at Phoenix Children's Hospital were wish kids,” said Sydney. “When I found out I could get a wish, it was a great day.”
With a sense of adventure and a determination that the pain of her diagnosis wouldn’t stop her, Sydney considered many options when thinking of her wish. However; it always came back to travelling.
“I wanted to go somewhere I could snorkel and spend quality time at the beach,” she recalls. “But I wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t been before and Puerto Rico looked amazing!”
Sydney and her family left for her wish trip right after her high school graduation. Throughout her wish, Sydney said she felt like a celebrity.
“The room was beautiful, the food was great, even the water was perfect,” she said. “Everyone knew I was a wish kid and treated me so kindly. At that time, the Crohn's Disease was still pretty new and my wish really helped me forget about the pain and focus on the fun.”
Now, six years later, Sydney believes her wish really helped her find her passion. Today, she works as a respite volunteer worker for kids with autism.
“I understand the stress families feel with a serious diagnosis and a disorder that affects their daily lives,” she said. “I often think about how everyone on my wish focused on me and my happiness and use those memories to help me do the same for the kids I serve.”
“I always think about my wish and how much fun it was," said Sydney. "Together, my family looks back on my wish as such a great time, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”