Wishes not only have the ability to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy, but they are also capable of providing a positive long-term impact for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Former wish child, Kara Harmon, continues to reflect on how her wish experience has impacted her life.
Kara, now 28-years-old, was diagnosed with a life-threatening autoimmune disease in 2001 when she was only 14-years-old. This life-changing diagnosis prevented her from partaking in many of her usual activities as she could no longer spend too much time in the sun and was often too tired to participate in her favorite sports.
After being referred to Make-A-Wish Illinois by her at-home nurse, Kara shares that her wish gave her something to look forward to. She wished to attend the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003 because she knew that tickets for this event could not be purchased. Kara recounts that her wish was a very memorable experience for her and her family. They not only attended the VMAs in New York City, but they also enjoyed dining at different restaurants, visited the site of the World Trade Center, at that time called Ground Zero, and even attended a Broadway play.
Although Kara continues to live with her autoimmune condition and still has to take medications on a daily basis, she has taken these trying experiences and turned them into something positive. She is currently a volunteer for Make-A-Wish Illinois.
“The Make-A-Wish Foundation and my wish had such a large impact on my family that we decided we wanted to give back,” she said.
Kara and her father are now a wish-granting team, and she and her mother often speak about their experiences at events for Make-A-Wish. She most recently recounted the life-changing impact of her wish at the Women, Wine and Wishes fundraiser held by the Make-A-Wish Illinois Women's Network. Kara’s sister is also a part of the Women’s Network for Make-A-Wish Illinois.
Kara also finds herself revisiting her wish experience as she speaks to other wish families.
“I have found that they really like to hear and ask me questions about my own wish” she shared.
Kara enjoys her wish-granting responsibilities because she is able to interact with strong-willed and determined children. She has developed close relationships with many of the children she has worked with.
Presently, Kara works as a Corporate Bankruptcy Consultant for Alvarez and Marsal. She and her husband currently reside in west suburban Naperville.