A strong love of the outdoors and helping endangered species, especially pandas, is important to 17 year old Amanda. Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2015, Amanda had to spend less time doing the things she loved while she dealt with this critical illness.
Last year, her medical team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital referred her to Make-A-Wish in hopes of lifting her spirits and helping her find strength and hope for coping with her illness. Though her parents were initially unsure about pursuing a wish for their daughter, they came to realize that a wish was just what she needed.
Working with her volunteers to discover her one true wish, Amanda realized she what she really wanted was to take a trip to China with her family, where she could see some of the wildlife found only in Asia.
“Amanda has always loved pandas,” her father Gary said. “She wants to work as a wildlife biologist in the future. She knew the chance to work and be with pandas would be a dream come true.”
For two days in China, Amanda was able to visit and interact with the endangered bears. Amanda was anticipating experiencing something fantastic, and she was not disappointed.
“When she started to cry from touching the panda…..well to me that is when words fail,” Gary shared.
While on the trip she also got to explore the Great Wall of China and Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan province learning about the area’s history and culture.
“Seeing how happy she was all the time was amazing. Especially when she got to feed the pandas, I have never seen her smile so much.” Gary said.
It truly was an amazing trip for Amanda and her family. To be able to take her mind entirely off of all she endures on a day to day basis was a blessing according to her dad.