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Rafael Explores Normandy, Paris


“ I forgot I had cancer while I was there. ”

- Rafael

Diagnosed with cancer, Rafael leaned on his family and friends during some difficult days of his medical odyssey. When a social worker at Children's Hospital University of Illinois referred him to Make-A-Wish, he had something new to occupy his thoughts. He wished for a trip to France so he could visit some historical sites and enjoy the world-famous food.

“Rafa had the wish to look forward to before it actually happened...we were able to talk about to create an excitement that was needed during the rough times of chemotherapy,” his mother Sarah wrote to Make-A-Wish shortly after his wish was granted.

RafaelThe 11th grader loves many things, but he was super excited to visit World War II battle sites in Normandy and enjoy some crepes while roaming the streets of France. Through Make-A-Wish Rafa, his parents and three brothers set off for his wish adventure.

When they arrived, he was astounded by the various smells that surrounded him. He was so anxious to try all the delicious food that Paris had to offer, especially the beautiful looking baked goods. After eating some Nutella and crepes, Rafael even stepped out of his comfort zone and tried snails and thought they were delicious!

“I forgot I had cancer while I was there. I just had fun and it made me forget all the worries that I had,” Rafael shared.

His favorite part was going to Normandy. He loved how beautiful the country was and really appreciated getting to see all of the World War II monuments. He especially appreciated paying his respects at the cemetery and seeing what the shelters were like for the soldiers. He thought it was a really neat experience.

Rafael and his family were so happy to have had the experience to travel to France. They were extremely grateful for the nice people they met along the way and were thrilled to see how happy Rafael was while in France. 

“While we were on our wish it gave him and my entire family a chance to just be us as a unit and really allowed us to laugh and have fun together since we all had been walking the journey of cancer alongside of Rafa,” Sarah concluded.

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Sandra Jamaica

I can't imagine what it feels like to have cancer, it brings tears to my eyes knowing someone as young as Rafa. I have known him and his family for a very long time. I can't imagine the pain he as his family must have..... But I'm very glad to hear he had a good time......I wish the family and Rafa peace of mind and lots of patience. My prayers for this beautiful family...Stay positive Rafa....💖💖💖

August 29, 2016 - 2:38 PM

Patricia Ames

Stay strong, Raja; you inspire all of us. I will tell all my friends and family to donate to Make-A-Wish so that others can also live out a dream.

October 12, 2016 - 12:35 PM

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  • A special Make-A-Wish supporter recently stopped by our office to show her support by donating $50 for children with critical illnesses! After seeing a sign at a Hamra Enterprises Panera Bread, she knew she had to help. "I dropped in a quarter [that day] because I wanted to make a kid's day." At her birthday party, she and forty of her friends also helped to write cards for children about to go on their wishes. "These kids have it really hard, and they should be treated well and respected." She, in the past, has also donated to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Moriah Congregation. Thank you so much for making wishes come true!
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