In January of 2013, my family was greatly impacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation when my little brother was granted a wish to Disney World. Prior to our extravagant trip, my youngest brother, Clayton, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as Rhabdomyosarcoma that affected the soft tissues in his right, middle ear. As Clayton was only six years old at the time of his diagnoses, my family was utterly shocked, scared, and unsure of what his future held. Throughout this devastating time period, Clayton was as resilient as can be while my parents, Caroline and I, as well as our other brother, Cort, attempted to hold it together behind closed doors. During this period of uncertainty, we were contacted by Make a Wish, making us aware that Clayton’s illness qualified him to be granted a wish of his choice.
This was a tremendous blessing as our family was in desperate need of motivation and something to look forward to. After considering many options, Clayton chose to take a trip to Disney World!
Make-A-Wish planned our trip to its full potential as we got flights, hotel accommodations, park tickets, money for food, as well as extra spending money, and everything under the sun for the whole family at absolutely no cost. Our Make-A-Wish trip was more than we could have ever imagined. We were given the opportunity to stay at a nonprofit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Located just twenty minutes from Disney, “Give Kids the World Village” housed us in a beautiful condo as well as provided us with meals, ice cream sundaes, and exclusive Disney character meet and greets. The resort made us feel so welcomed and treated Clayton and my family like royalty. Along with the amazing hotel accommodations, we were given 3 day park hoppers to Disney World, 2 day park passes to Universal Studios, and a one day pass to Seaworld. Clayton was especially excited about the fact that our park passes included a fast pass to every single ride, activity, and character meet and greet. At the entrance of each ride, we were escorted to the front of the line and never waited more than 20 minutes to enjoy the experience. Make-A-Wish completely outdid themselves and planned the greatest trip a seven year old fighting cancer could have ever imagined. In the midst of a scary and unknown stage of life, Make-A-Wish gave our family a week of joy, excitement, and hope.
Make-A-Wish provided a huge blessing to my family as they recognized the difficult time my siblings and parents were going through alongside Clayton. Most people don’t realize the effects having a cancer patient as a family member has on the entire family. Make-A-Wish did an excellent job of representing my family as a whole, tending to the needs of each and every one of us, and acknowledging our difficult time as a sibling or parent of Clayton. With the support of Make A Wish, Clayton completed 43 weeks of chemotherapy, 28 days of radiation, two surgeries and was finally CANCER FREE. Six years later, Clayton remains cancer free and my family will forever be grateful for the generosity and compassion of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As a way to give back, Caroline and I have been blessed by the opportunity to share our story, raise money, and support Make-A-Wish by being a part of Chi Omega. We hope our story puts a meaningful reason and purpose behind the many Make-A-Wish fundraising events within Chi Omega at Baylor and across the nation