It has not always been easy for Makayla, according to her mom. A quiet teen, she is often shy around people, preferring instead to read or learn about the latest makeup and fashion trends. Diagnosed as an infant with a congenital heart condition, Makayla has endured surgeries and complications along the way.
Just lately, Makayla is struggling as she understands more about the limitations of her condition. When her doctors first brought up Make-A-Wish to her parents, they were scared and hesitant to refer her for a wish.
“We were wondering if she was sicker than the doctors were letting on,” her mother Tonya said. It was only after a nurse at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn explained how a wish could help lift Makayla’s spirits and give her a sense of how many people care about her during this especially difficult time that her parents reconsidered.
“It’s about her and we had to change her perspective,” Tonya said of their willingness to move forward. And she was so glad they did.
Makayla wanted to visit Europe, and specifically Italy, where fashion the world follows is often created. A Mediterranean cruise offered her the chance to visit Rome, Cannes, Ibiza and other European cities known for their fashion sense. Makayla soaked it all in as they traveled through the Mediterranean; the fashion, the culture, the many different languages seemed to open up a new world to her. Additionally, the experience allowed the entire family the rare opportunity to just be a family and relax.
“I had the chance to stand back and see my child truly smile with a glow,” Tonya said of the trip. “We all needed this. We needed to reflect on her and how far she has come and to see where she is going.”
Makayla came back from her wish motivated to learn more about different cultures. She’s determined to learn a new language so she can travel the world when she grows up. The normally reserved girl is now sharing her experience about the trip with anyone who will listen.
“Makayla has come out of her shell a little bit,” Tonya shared. “This has really sparked something. With her struggles [the wish] has allowed her to continue to dream, to get her second wind and decide that she wants to go and travel the world.”