I was adjusting to high school in 1996 when my 12-year-old sister was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – bone cancer. The tumor was in her right arm. The treatment plan was to remove the bone with the tumor and replace it with a cadaver bone. Unfortunately, things were not so easy, and my sister had several setbacks along with several surgeries.
She had to deal with an uncomfortable brace to hold her arm in an upright position to heal as well as missing so much school. We lived quite a distance from Buffalo General, where she was treated, so my parents spent a lot of time on the road. Our family was broken in half – my mom with my sister, and my dad home with me. Looking back, I realize just how much that brokenness impacted all of us long-term.
It is so tough escaping the reality of doctor’s appointments, surgeries and treatment plans. I know firsthand just how much that is needed when families are ripped apart by critical illness.
A few years ago, a friend from college asked me to consider becoming a wish-granting volunteer for Make-A-Wish. I embraced the opportunity to not only help grant wishes but to raise critical awareness. There are many families that face the same realities that I experienced growing up and Make-A-Wish breathes life and hope into entire family units. It is so special to witness the creativity of a wish child who is deciding what their one wish will be.
A wish truly makes a difference and it is my great honor to play a role in bringing it to my community.
Thanks to Wish Granter Lindsay Barrile for sharing her story about the importance of Make-A-Wish in her life, in honor of her sister – a pediatric cancer warrior.