In March of 2014, after battling a brain stem glioma, I was fortunate enough to have my wish granted to write for a fashion magazine. Thanks to Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, my family and I flew from PA to LA, where I got the chance to blog for Glamour magazine at Style LA Fashion Week. It was a true fashion fantasy! I sat front row at numerous fashion shows, got all dolled-up back stage, met stylist Rachel Zoe and received many glamorous goodies. As a gal who has a passion for both writing and fashion, it was a match made in heaven while in the City of Angels.
But before my wish even began, I had a really special surprise planned for me. Straight off the plane, my family and I ventured over to Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles, where I found plenty of shops and boutiques to explore. We walked the strip and, to my surprise, there was a group of generous individuals waiting for me at Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers, a company that participates in Jewelers for Children, which is a national Make-A-Wish sponsor. As I entered the store, I was stunned by the wealth of compassion I received. Although it wasn’t the main course of my trip, it was an incredible experience that my family and I still relish in to this day.
The friendly folks who own the shop, David and Gail Friedman, prepared a pampering for my family and me. I was greeted with a welcome sign, kind embraces, sweet treats and of course, BLING. They gifted me with such beautiful pieces that completed my look and made me red-carpet ready: matching silver infinity bracelets for my mom, sister, and me, beautiful bangles, a glamorous clutch and so much more. They even provided my dad with a snazzy UCLA watch, which he wore for the remainder of the week – he loves to brag about it to anyone who asks. This wish trip kick-off, thanks to Jewelers for Children, undoubtedly gave my wish trip that extra sparkle.
In March of 2015, one year later, I was typing away at my desk: writing wish stories, creating press releases, contacting media and other wonders of the wish world. A year prior, I could have never imagined I would end up as a marketing communications intern at Make-A-Wish. It is truly humbling to be a part of the same team who granted me such hope in my time of despair, and I couldn’t be happier. Being on the other end, I'm part of the detailed dynamics that go into granting wishes. Contributions from national donors like Jewelers for Children can make a child’s dream go from flying high in the sky to soaring all the way to the stars.
And I have some great news: My follow-up scan came back clear. There is no indication of my tumor. I’ve been on a whirlwind since my diagnosis in 2013, but Make-A-Wish has truly transformed my life. For a long while, I held off on making any plans for the future because it was so difficult trying to dream for something I wasn’t certain I would even have. Now, after receiving my wish, helping grant other wishes and acquiring good health, I finally feel like I am more than just my diagnosis. I have the whole world waiting for me … but personally, the “wish world” is good enough for me!
Want to read more from Francesca? Check out her blog posts on the Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia website!