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Saleea’s wish brings a community together

  • Saleea's wish brought joy and happiness to everyone involved.
    © Photo: Cristina Roark

  • Dozens of outfits waited for Saleea at Nordstrom.
    © Photo: Cristina Roark

  • Saleea modeled dresses for her friends.
    © Photo: Cristina Roark

  • Next stop: pampering at Gene Juarez.
    © Photo: Cristina Roark

  • Saleea and her friends were delighted with a day fitting of a billionaire.
    © Photo: Cristina Roark

“ Everybody that I talked to was so generous and kindhearted. They just really wanted to make Saleea’s wish special. ”

- Melissa, wish-granting volunteer

When 12-year-old wish kid Saleea wished for a billionaire’s night out with girlfriends, wish-granting volunteer Melissa had no idea how she was going to pull this one off. But she channeled her inner preteen and came up with the perfect plan. “I just kept asking myself what I would want when I was 12 years old,” she said. “I love all those little magical details.”

So how do you plan a billionaire’s night out for a group of 12-year-olds? Get creative, and ask for help! “Everybody that I talked to was so generous and kindhearted,” said Melissa. “They just really wanted to make Saleea’s wish special.”

“There were so many people out there who were excited to get involved,” said wish-granting volunteer Katy.

Across town, the team at The Westin Seattle jumped into action when they heard about Saleea and her wish. “We worked with a big team to put it all together,” said reservations coordinator, Camila. “Marketing and sales, culinary, reservations, housekeeping and front desk all got involved. It’s been a lot of fun!”

Down the street at Shug’s Soda Fountain & Ice Cream, owner Colleen Wilkie got a call. “I have a child, and if my child were sick, I’d hope people would be willing to do something for her. Saying yes was the least we could do!”

And at Gene Juarez in Downtown Seattle, the entire staff jumped at the opportunity to give back. “It’s quite an honor to be asked to be part of a wish,” said Salon and Spa Director, Cait Espe. “To have (Saleea) want this day that we can be part of, we have to do it and make it the most special day for her!”

All across Seattle, companies came together to plan every little detail. And on Saleea’s wish day, it all came to life.

Saleea and her friends cruised around Seattle in style with their very own limo. They were pampered at Gene Juarez and treated to a special shopping experience at Nordstrom. At Shug’s, they had custom menus and sundaes made-to-order. They even got a bird’s eye view of the city from the Great Wheel.

“Seeing her in that dress (at Nordstrom) was the most memorable,” said Saleea’s dad, Demont. ”Knowing that my little girl is growing up and watching her develop into a young lady is just very special.”

Around every corner, Saleea and her friends were delighted with trinkets and gift bags fitting of a celebrity.

When they arrived at The Westin Seattle, members of Chi Omega sorority and Make-A-Wish volunteers lined the hallway with signs and cheers.

“Sometimes you lose sight of the good when you’re going through so much bad,” said Melissa. “A wish is a way to let these kids know there is good, there is fun and they can forget about what they’re going through for a little while.”

When a wish is granted, a child replaces fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope. And Saleea’s wish did just that.

“Where do I even start?” said Saleea. “It really touched my heart because (everyone involved) could’ve done something else like go on a vacation. But instead, they decided to help me and that was really, really caring.”

And participating in Saleea’s wish did more than bolster her spirits. It brought joy and happiness to everyone involved.

“It’s easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day,” said Ashley, marketing director at The Westin Seattle. “It’s a nice opportunity to feel something light, to give back in the workplace, and for team morale in general.”

“Hopefully we can help wash away the things she has to go through and give her something she can take with her,” added Camila.

Every day in Alaska and Washington, at least one child is diagnosed with a critical illness and we are not reaching them all. It takes an entire community of people just like you to grant wishes to kids like Saleea and you can help. Here’s how you can get involved today!

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Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington
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Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington, Alaska Office
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