On the Road Again! RV Makes Teen’s Ultimate Wish Come True

March 14, 2007
Filed under Feature Stories, Uncategorized

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On the Road Again! RV Makes Teen’s Ultimate Wish Come True
Marissa, age 18

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Michigan

Eighteen-year-old Marissa had received many amazing gifts in her life – among them, life-saving bone marrow and kidney transplants. So when the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan offered to grant Marissa’s fondest wish, she decided to use the opportunity to personally say thank you to the donor whose gifts had saved her life. She wished to travel across the country to reunite with her organ donor.

In Marissa’s 18 years, she has experienced more health challenges than most people encounter in a lifetime: a bone marrow transplant, a kidney transplant and a two hip replacements resulting from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer in blood-forming tissues of the bone marrow.

While in the hospital undergoing her transplants and treatment, Marissa’s family had an opportunity to form a close bond with her bone marrow and kidney donor but; unfortunately, Marissa did not have that same chance as she was conserving her energy and concentrating on her recovery. With her wish, Marissa’s wish gave her the opportunity she missed out on – and the chance to take a cross-country trip to Huntington Beach, Calif., the city where her donor lived.

Due to Marissa’s compromised immune system and inability to sit for long periods of time, hopping on planes and staying in hotel rooms was out of the question. This called for a carefully conceived travel plan that would allow her and her family to arrive in Huntington Beach in a controlled, germ-free environment.

“We needed a hotel on wheels,” Marissa said.

That’s exactly what she got by traveling across the country in a 32-foot RV.

With the open road before them, Marissa – accompanied by her mom, dad, sister and their beloved dog – set out for the adventure of a lifetime as they traveled more than 2,200 miles to reunite with the woman who changed all their lives. Along the way, they celebrated with visits to Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument, a stay at Yellowstone National Park, a chance encounter with the Blue Man Group at their Las Vegas show and a visit to the San Diego Zoo, among others.

“My wish was a much-needed break,” said Marissa. The two weeks Marissa and her family spent on her wish trip created memories that will last a lifetime.

Destination JoySMpresented by LAY’S® is the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s campaign to inspire and empower Americans to share their much-needed time, talents and resources to grant the wishes of the 100,000 children who will be diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions over the next four years. Explore the seven ways to help at www.wish.org or by calling 800-722-9474 (WISH).

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