Born with the same autoimmune disorder as her siblings, Grace has always had to be careful with her health. In her family, it’s not unusual to take extra precautions like avoiding water fountains or to spend time getting regular plasma infusions. That’s just the way life is for Grace and brothers and sister.
It wasn’t until Grace started school that she began to notice that her life is different than that of her peers. When she’s feeling ill, she can’t go to the nurse’s office in case there are other sick kids there. And there are so many other safety rules that she must follow that make her feel separate for her friends.
“She doesn’t feel how she looks,” her mom Dayna shared. “We call it the curse of looking good.”
These realizations where getting her down, and that’s when her family decided it would be a good time to connect with Make-A-Wish.
“She wanted to stand under the Eiffel tower in the worst way,” Dayna said. “She has been obsessed with Paris since she was really little. It was beautiful to see her empowered to ask for something like that, to give her the freedom to explore.”
Make-A-Wish volunteers worked to make it happen with special touches along the way. After a French-themed send off dinner, the family was off to Europe. The best part was no sense of having to hurry. The family Grace take the lead on the trip, spending time together cafes, walking to the market and wandering around the city leisurely. Grace found time to play in a park in Paris and make purses alongside a French designer with her mother and sister.
In trying to use French words to order things, she built her confidence with each success.
“This trip was exactly what she needed,” Dayna said. “It built resiliency and showed her many people care. The difference in her is palpable.”
Grace loves to tell people about their amazing adventure and is proud of the fact that she chose it all. She has shared with her class about her illness in the past and it left her feeling sad. This time she was able to share a little about her illness as well as her wish journey.
“When you have a disease like this, there is so little you can control. This gave Grace back some of that control and I can see how it makes a difference.”