Serena, 17, Hodgkin's lymphoma
It was a day like any other, full of classes, laughs with friends, and homework; but after school at cheer practice, Serena’s world began to change. While practicing cheers and stunts, Serena was accidentally hit in the neck and a large lump formed almost immediately. Serena and her parents went to the doctor and were shocked by the news: she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and forced to start aggressive chemotherapy right away.
While her friends continued to enjoy cheerleading, football games and planning for the future, Serena found herself watching from the sidelines while life seemed to go on without her. It was during this time that Serena was first introduced to volunteers from Make-A-Wish®, and suddenly things were looking up.
As Serena began to think through the idea of her one true wish, she considered several options. First and foremost, she wished for something her entire family could enjoy together. Serena was old enough to recognize she wasn’t the only member of her family suffering from her diagnosis; both her parents and her brother bravely weathered this storm with her. Second, Serena wanted to visit somewhere warm and tropical, preferably near the ocean with great beaches. After thinking through those things most important to her, Serena fashioned her most perfect wish come true–to go to Hawaii to learn how to surf!
As the day finally arrived for Serena and her family to travel to Hawaii, the surprises and smiles started as soon as she arrived at the airport. For an entire week, Serena enjoyed the sun, sand, and surf without a care in the world. Serena took to the waves in a big way, and stood up on her surf board after only a few tries! In her own words, “Never in my life could I fully express how thankful I am to everyone who made my wish to surf in Hawaii possible. My heart’s love and appreciation goes out to everyone … and I am honored to have been the beneficiary of your generosity.”
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