Fifteen-year-old Breanna stood atop a soaring cliff, nearly 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The soft light of dusk danced across her freckled nose. Just steps away, a photographer clicked away, forever documenting this moment while on her wish.
High on top of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, this is the moment Breanna’s wish came true.
“Modeling is a way for Breanna to feel beautiful in her body,” said Breanna’s mom, Amy. “She struggles with that, because she looks normal from the outside, but inside she’s not.”
Breanna has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic condition that causes a thick buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. Breanna has to take medication every time she eats, and has to eat almost 6,000 calories a day to stay healthy. She has to do breathing treatments and take medications to keep her airways clean and clear. She also wears a vest that violently vibrates her entire body to break up the mucus that can make it difficult to breathe.
So when Amy saw Breanna standing on the Cliffs of Moher, stunning and confident, she was overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude to you for making her wish possible.
“It’s challenging having a teenager who doesn’t know what their longevity is going to be,” said Amy. “Watching her in that dress, watching her glow while she’s getting her pictures taken, just sitting back and watching her. She’s becoming a woman.”
Breanna came to the Cliffs of Moher on her Make-A-Wish® trip. She wished to go to Ireland because she has always been drawn to the culture and the history. And the stunning scenery provided the perfect background for a photoshoot that Breanna will always treasure.
“When she looks at those pictures, she looks beautiful,” Amy said. “Modeling is empowering for her. It makes her feel good about herself.”
When she wasn’t snapping photos, Breanna and her family explored the beautiful country. They saw stone fences and grass-thatched roofs. They ate at local restaurants that sourced all of their ingredients from the farm next door. They rode stunning horses and listened to buskers playing music in the streets.
Breanna also found a renewed sense of self on her trip. “It taught her more about herself and looking outside her box. It expanded her sense of adventure,” said Amy.
But most importantly, Breanna’s wish gave her something fun to look back on when times are tough.
“It was really fun to watch her just be her,” said Amy. “We didn’t really talk about her illness or any of that, we just let her be her and do what she loves to do. It was amazing to sit and watch that.”
Did you know that you can help make wishes like Breanna’s come true by donating your unused frequent flier miles? More than 80 percent of local wishes involve travel, and airline costs remain one of Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington’s largest expenses. Click here to learn more.
Special thanks to Make-A-Wish Ireland and wish-granting volunteers Sandra Griggs and Karen Weiss.