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Wish Gives Teen Strength to Fight for Healthier Future

Mara, while on her wish to go to Alaska, has found a new perspective of experiencing life beyond illness.
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare immunodeficiency disorder that sent me to the hospital 10 times in one year. I was in so much pain every day that I struggled to climb the stairs to my room, a far cry from the 16-mile marathon training days I was doing two months prior. I began to lose hope and give up on the things that once gave me so much joy in my life.

But the one thing I never gave up on was my education.

I knew from the time I was 14 years old that I wanted to be a physician. It was only through my illness that I discovered how badly I was yearning for this calling. So badly, in fact, that I would listen to recordings of chemistry lectures from a hospital bed or furiously type a biology lab report from the infusion clinic.

I have a purpose to keep me moving forward. And every day, as I study the human body, I learn a little bit more about myself, my condition, and the resilience I find when the only option I have is to fight for a healthy future.

Mara, while on her wish to go to Alaska, has found a new perspective of experiencing life beyond illness.

There’s another piece of my health journey that I credit for this hope, strength, and determination: My wish. I wished to go to Alaska, as I love outdoor adventure and hiking. The trip was very encouraging for me. It reminded me that there is more to life beyond illness. While in Alaska, I began to see hope in things. I was reminded that there is plenty in life I have yet to see. Traveling through the majestic landscape with my parents, sister and best friend, I realized that if I would have given up on my health, I wouldn’t have been able to experience this trip of a lifetime. My wish, too, has kept me going.

Now that the weight of my disease has lightened, I am finishing my sophomore year of college, still working just as hard, with that same determination. I consider it a great privilege to be studying the very disorder that shaped my life. It still brings me to tears. But it also gives me great joy knowing that I will be in the next generation of doctors, caring for children just like me. In 2019, I will be applying to medical school.

Mara, while on her wish to go to Alaska, has found a new perspective of experiencing life beyond illness.

Every hour of every day, three children are diagnosed with a critical illness. Every one of these kids needs a wish to give them strength, joy and hope for a healthier future. You can contribute to these kids’ transformation by helping to grant them a wish through donations and referrals.



Mara’s wish to go to Alaska was granted thanks to the His Excellency Sheikh Ghassan I. Shaker Endowment Fund and Make-A-Wish® East Tennessee.


Did you know that 77 percent of wish experiences require air travel? Make-A-Wish needs about 3 billion airline miles every year to grant wishes for children with critical illnesses. Give a child a flight that will transform his or her life. Donate airline miles today.

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Wish Nation gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Make-A-Wish®. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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