peered out the windows of the blackstretch-limousine, her heart raced upon seeing dozens of friendly faces, holding colorful signs in support of her. “I thought, ‘you know I could get used to this’,” Courtney jokes. The limo pulled up to the front of Macy’s where a red carpet was laid out for the 15-year-old, who battles a rare immunodeficiency disorder called Job Syndrome. “Only about 250 people in the entire world are affected by this and it weakens the immune system,” explains her mother, Janet. “She often times comes down with pneumonia or skin rashes.” As Courtney has had to endure some of life’s greatest battles, Make-A-Wish®
offered to give her a wish experience that would help her forget about her medical challenges. Courtney says her wish had the incredible power to do just that.
“I was on my way to my high school’s homecoming dance when I got the call,” Courtney explains. “My mom told me that I would soon have a wish and I couldn’t help but cry because I never thought Make-A-Wish could help me.” Weeks prior to that moment, Courtney contacted Make-A-Wish herself in hopes of qualifying for a wish. She was confident in her decision to wish for a shopping spree but she only imagined traveling to her hometown mall. Instead, Make-A-Wish wanted to give her an enhancement to her wish like no other, and since Courtney is unable to go out much, the destination was a two-hour ride from her home. “It was like I was traveling to a big city and we were able to stay over in a hotel. Might I add, the biggest one I have ever stayed in,” she exclaims. Courtney made sure to tuck herself into bed bright and early for the big shopping day ahead of her.
When morning approached, Courtney says she had a difficult time holding back her excitement! With a full breakfast to fuel her, she was ready to shop alongside her mom, sister and young nephew. It wasn’t just Courtney’s mission to buy personal items – she instead chose to focus her wish on those who have helped her in her young life. “I dedicated my shopping spree to my family, and with the holidays approaching, I wanted to shop for Christmas gifts for those I love,” she expresses. “They have given so much to me, so I wanted to show them how much I appreciated their love and support.”
Courtney says that seeing the crowd of people show up to greet her at the start of her shopping excursion was heartwarming and inspiring – people like Macy’s employees, Make-A-Wish volunteers, as well as the community’s local fire department. “I was just so happy to see the smiles and hear the words of encouragement because I always felt like I was going through all of my struggles alone but this proved I wasn’t.” Courtney purchased slippers and a charm bracelet for her mother and an iPod for her brother. She treated her sister to new sneakers and toys for her nephew. Courtney was reluctant to buy anything for herself but with encouragement from her family she bought a laptop for school work, and bedding for her bedroom. “It is a memory that will be stuck in my heart every single day!” Courtney says Make-A-Wish is an amazing foundation that truly changed the way she felt about her illness. “I am strong and brave, and Make-A-Wish believes in me.”
Wish Granting Volunteers: Nadine A. Glass & Sharon Erway
Wish Story Writer: Kate McGowan