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Makenzie Meets a Sloth

  • Makenzie poses with Wilbur the sloth

  • Wilbur and Makenzie were mutually curious during their visit together

  • Makenzie gently feeds Wilbur

  • Wilbur the sloth

  • Makenzie (in yellow) along her family at her wish send-off party with staff members from Baxter's Fine Jewelry in Warwick, RI, and Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“ Make-A-Wish has made some really dark times in my family’s life so much brighter. ”

- Wish mom Jenn

Makenzie, 15, from Coventry, Rhode Island, cried when she heard that her wish to meet a sloth would be granted. She and her family were excited for the week they would spend at the beach in Florida with a beautiful view, dinner on the white sand, and of course, a visit with a sloth at the Palm Beach Zoo!

Living with cystic fibrosis, Makenzie must do chest therapy two times a day, breathing exercises, and a nebulizer, along with 10 medications. The teen spends about two hours a day just working on keeping herself healthy. She is resilient, wise beyond her years, quirky, and talented. She makes high honors in school, participates in Art Club, and plays the guitar, ukulele, keyboard, and drums.

Makenzie’s mom, Jenn, describes sloths as her daughter’s “spirit animal” and the quirky creatures have brought smiles and comfort to Makenzie on some of her toughest days of treatment.

Makenzie will never forget her wish, which brought her face-to-face with Wilbur the sloth. She was able to feed and take pictures with Wilbur and could not believe that something that she had seen only onscreen and in books was right there in front of her. Everyone at the Palm Beach Zoo made her feel special and welcome, and she was also treated to VIP time with flamingos. Makenzie’s Florida trip was rounded out with a glass bottom boat tour of the coral reef off the Florida Keys and a swim with dolphins.

The fun Makenzie and her family had in Florida gave them a much-needed break and a chance to recharge and come back feeling stronger. Makenzie's brother is also a wish recipient, and Jenn says, “Make-A-Wish has made some really dark times in my family’s life so much brighter; it has allowed my children to experience a huge life-changing memory for them to reflect upon and treasure always." 

Photos courtesy of Lisa Lefevre Photography.

Read more from Jenn about her family's Make-A-Wish experiences

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Thank you, Jewelers for Children

Jewelers for Children

Makenzie's wish is one of two granted this year with support from Jewelers for Children. As part of this support, Baxter's Fine Jewelry in Warwick, RI, hosted a wish send-off party for Makenzie and her family. Over more than two decades, Jewelers for Children has donated nearly $13.5 million to Make-A-Wish to grant wishes in every state in the U.S. Founded in 1999 by the U.S. jewelry industry, Jewelers for Children is guided by the mission of helping children in need.

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