When you first meet 10-year-old Noelia, you would never guess that she is on the tail end of her year-long fight against leukemia.
Noelia is the embodiment of a healthy, happy child, from her joyful laugh to beautiful, curly hair. “Do you see her hair? Her hair was long and [straight] when it fell out … I tell her that it came back even more beautiful,” said her dad, Eliseo.
Noelia’s comeback doesn’t stop there. Eliseo believes that Noelia is even more intelligent, active and cheerful than she was before her diagnosis in part because of her wish.
Wishes have real, tangible results
Research shows that a wish can help improve a child’s quality of life and produce better health outcomes. That’s why when Noelia received the news that she would be granted a wish, everything changed for the better.*
A wish provides something to hope for
Noelia was in chemotherapy twice a week, every week for an entire year. During that time, the thought of her wish was a much-needed and appreciated distraction. She spent hours daydreaming about what her wish could be. Ultimately, she decided on a family trip to Hawaii.
The trip was a dream-come-true for Noelia and her family.
A wish helped heal a family torn by illness
“When [Noelia] got sick, we lived through the sickness together. The four of us shaved our heads," said Noelia's father, Eliseo. "And now we were able to live this vacation, together too, as a family.”
They were able to spend time together relaxing on the beach, visiting the Dole Plantation, and even went swimming with dolphins.
Wishes matter and Noelia knows this
Noelia hopes other kids get their wishes granted because, “A wish is something that makes you feel happy and forget all the chemotherapies, the poking, surgery,” she said. “It’s something that you just never forget and [it reminds you] to be happy and be glad that you got time outside of the hospital.”
Can you help other kids like Noelia?
Every day in Alaska and Washington, at least one child is diagnosed with a critical illness, and we are not able to grant all of their wishes. Can you help make sure every eligible child receives a wish?
Special thanks to: Special thanks to: Adopt-A-Wish sponsor The Seattle Sounders, Make-A-Wish Hawaii and wish-granting volunteers Carolina Ayala de Freeman and Anne Hess.
* Shoshani, A. Mifano, K. Czamanski-Cohen, J. (2015). The effects of the Make a Wish intervention on psychiatric symptoms and health-related quality of life of children with cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Quality of Life Research, 25(5), 1209-1218. doi 10.1007/s11136-015-1148-7