Kaitlyn is a 2003 wish recipient. Here, she looks back on her wish and its impact.
Driving around the island of Maui while on our honeymoon in 2015, my husband and I stopped at a shaved ice stand in Kihei. It wasn’t long before all the memories of my wish trip came flooding back. There he and I were in the same open-air market that my family and I had visited 12 years ago, and we were looking directly at the beach where I learned to surf!
I was 16 and had just completed a year of treatment for metastatic melanoma. For my wish, I set my sights on a celebratory trip to Hawaii. Before I knew it, I was sitting front row at a luau and snorkeling with sea turtles. At the conclusion of this experience of a lifetime − and to this day the best vacation my family has ever been on − I returned home with not only treasured photos, but also a new focus.
Make-A-Wish Changed Me
Growing up, I had always thought I would be a chef. However, through the relationships I developed with my nurses and my Make-A-Wish volunteers, I began to realize I wanted to give back to people like me.
Make-A-Wish changed me, and it changed my family. I am now an oncology nurse at the same hospital where I was treated. My family funds a wish every year, and I’m proud to have supported the organization as a volunteer. Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island did so much to make my health struggles easier, help my family’s stresses dissipate, and make all of us happier after an incredibly hard year. I often ask myself, “What can I do for my patients today to make their day a little bit better?” I believe this question, as well as a heightened awareness of all the opportunities for affecting people’s lives in positive ways, began with Make-A-Wish.