Voice on Fire Blog

Home of Lira the Amazing Pet Therapy Dog

“Technically I’m not on the couch”

Make A Wish


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When Lira and I go to the children’s ward on Tuesdays, unfortunately we visit the same patient numerous times through the weeks.  One of the youngsters that we visit is a young girl who is 16 years old by the name of Ariel. When I think of what this young woman has had to endure in her lifetime… well it truly makes you think when you are complaining about inconsequential things that are happening in your own life. Instead of hanging out with friends, talking and texting and generally just being a teenager this courageous and peaceful ray of sunshine has had to endure 3 weeks of chemotherapy in the hospital and 3 weeks off at home for NINE treatments with some complications along the way.  You do the math.

One day a few weeks ago I walked into her room and she was so excited about a trip that “Make a Wish Foundation” was sending her and her entire family to.  They were off to Orlando to visit all of the theme parks. It was their first family vacation, the first time they had all been out of the state of Washington and their first plane ride together. Lira stretched out on her hospital bed as she usually does for belly rubs while Ariel happily told us all about her upcoming trip. A few days before the trip her fever spiked and she had to return to the hospital. The staff did everything in their power to get her well enough to go on that trip and they were successful. Yea!!

Last week Ariel excitedly sought Lira and I out in the hallway.  We settled into her room with Lira in her usual place with head in lap and belly easily accessible. She told us in minute detail every aspect of her trip while she loved on Lira.  She and her family were set up in a special hotel just for kids with illnesses. The hotel was fully staffed with recreational event planners and professional health care workers. The pool was wheelchair accessible and the “Ice Cream for Breakfast” and “Christmas in July” parties were a real hit.  She said there were so many fun activities at the hotel that it was hard to make all of the theme parks. They were able to get VIP treatment at all the theme parks. She met new friends one of which was a young man 16-17 years old who has been waiting for a liver transplant his whole life because he had a rare blood type.  She remains friends with him on social networking. 

After her rendition of her fabulous trip Ariel got rather philosophical. She said that the whole cancer experience has changed her.  I asked her how and she said she use to be an angry teenager.  This experience had given her focus and purpose in life.  I told her how impressed I was with her attitude. She now wants to volunteer at the same ward and has career aspirations of being a RN on a children’s cancer ward. What a life lesson that is. She is excited about being able to start her junior year in high school and begin a normal life again. When Lira and I left at the end of the visit I told her that it was nice not to have to say goodbye. I would see her on the ward when she volunteers.

A big shout out to “Make a Wish Foundation” and “Give Kids the World Resort” and to all the volunteers that help to make kids dreams come true!