At 5’ 2”, wish recipient Chelsey might not look like she’d take you on the basketball court, but looks can be deceiving.
Short in stature but not in her fighting spirit, in a matter of weeks, Chelsey went from an active high schooler – who loved playing basketball and volleyball – to a debilitated teen. She inexplicably became paralyzed, went partially blind and had a collapsed lung.
After being misdiagnosed on several occasions, a MRI finally revealed the culprit: she had muscular sclerosis (MS) with life-threatening complications.
This spunky teen refused to let MS beat her and was determined to regain control of her life. Her source of inspiration: the best forward, in her opinion, in the NBA, Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett. In a letter she wrote explaining why she wanted to meet him she said, “Watching you and your team made me miss playing so much. When I had physical therapy, I would try even harder so I could get better faster so I could go home and play.”
After learning how to walk again, Chelsey was finally up for travel (both on and off the court) and hopped a plane to meet her idol. The meet and greet was amazing and as she said, “It was better than high school graduation, my wedding day or any other milestone. It made my lifetime.” Chelsey posed with him for some pictures, asked him a few questions, met some of the other players and coach Rivers who, in her humble opinion “is the best coach ever.”
Spreading the Joy
Years later and still empowered by her experience meeting Kevin Garnett, Chelsey decided to give back to Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington in the form of volunteering as a wish-granting volunteer.
“It’s been about four years since my wish and still to this day when I’m having a bad day – during treatment or just not feeling well – I think back to my wish and that moment and how it was total happiness,” said Chelsey. “I wanted to get the chance to give kids who truly deserve it the same moment I had when I got to do my wish… and knowing that for years to come it will still impact their lives.”
Today, Chelsey is working on granting her first wish for an eleven-year-old girl who wants to go to Walt Disney World® Resort.
Chelsey said that what attracted her to becoming a wish-granting volunteer is the ability to bring light and happiness to a child during a tough time in their lives. She looks forward to seeing a child’s face light up with joy the moment they are told they will have their one most heartfelt wish come true. “It’s like being a genie!” said Chelsey.
Chelsey's first meeting with her wish child was already rewarding. The child even invited Chelsey to stay and play with her afterwards.
“It feels really good to give back to Make-A-Wish,” said Chelsey. “They have done so much for me and even years later I still think about my wish and how it was the best time of my life. I just want to give back to them as much as I can because what they do for others is an amazing thing!”
Special thanks: Wish-granting volunteers Lou Cutler and Cheryl Logan, Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and the Boston Celtics