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