Many children with life-threatening conditions are helped through their constant hospital visits by bringing a favorite toy or stuffed animal. For 10-year-old Wendy, this special toy became the spark in realizing her wish come true. Diagnosed with cancer in 2015, Wendy travelled to and from St. Louis Children’s Hospital with a pack of stuffed cats and an energetic, positive attitude.
Wendy was referred to Make-A-Wish by her mother after one of her coworkers shared her own child’s wish journey. Wendy knew that her wish had to be to meet her favorite animal; a type of wild cat called an ocelot that is native to Central and South America. She had learned about ocelots when playing her favorite video game.
Make-A-Wish sent Wendy and her family on a whirlwind trip to Belize where they went snuba diving, a combination of scuba diving and snorkeling, explored Mayan ruins, and, of course, got to see an ocelot up close! Wendy was captivated by the ocelots at the zoo the family visited and couldn’t be pulled away. This adventure was even more significant to Wendy and her family as just a year ago she was wheelchair bound and in recovery from surgery.
“We were under so much stress and were living in fear over the initial diagnoses,” Wendy’s mom shared. “Seeing her recover in this magical way is heartwarming beyond words.” Wendy’s review of the trip was more direct but just as enthusiastic. “I loved it all,” she gushed. “Everything was just awesome.”