Nature-loving teenager Kelsey got a break from hospital stays when she and her family traveled to beautiful Costa Rica recently as her wish was granted.
Kelsey was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disease in 2015, at age 17. When her parents were told by her doctors that she qualified for a wish, her mom, Cindy, didn’t immediately think they would take advantage of the opportunity.
“I sort of viewed Make-A-Wish as something that helped little kids go to Disney,” Cindy said. “I wanted to let them have those experiences instead.”
A social worker eventually assured Cindy that a wish experience would be helpful to Kelsey and that all children who medically qualify will be granted a wish. Kelsey shared her heartfelt wish: she wanted to travel to Costa Rica to explore nature and enjoy a break from a 12-month-long chemotherapy treatment. Spending time outdoors is one of Kelsey’s favorite things, and a trip to the tropical Costa Rican rain forests was the perfect retreat for her and her family.
“It was wonderful for [Kelsey] to have a wish to look forward to,” Cindy said.
In January, Kelsey, her parents, and her sisters Cara and Jenna flew from Chicago to Miami on their way to the Latin American paradise. On their American Airlines flight from Miami to Costa Rica, Cindy said they were “spoiled.”
“They made an announcement on the flight that we were there, all that stuff,” Cindy said. “Our wish granters told us they’d make a big deal about us, and they did.”
During her stay in Costa Rica, Kelsey got to experience the best parts of the tropical country. She zip lined through the rain forest canopy, went on a sunset cruise, snorkeled with gorgeous fish and saw many animals typically only seen in a zoo – such as spider monkeys, dolphins and sloths – in their natural habitats. She and her family stayed in “wonderful” accommodations, according to Cindy, and the whole trip was a “grand adventure.”
“The food was great and the people were so nice,” Cindy said. “It really helped put a positive spin on what had been such a tough year.”
Even after returning home, Kelsey and her family are still feeling the residual joy from the wish.
“It was a fabulous way to be together as a family and have new experiences together, especially with Kelsey going off to college,” Cindy said. “We will truly have lifetime memories from this.”