Three-year-old Emmaryiah loves animals and knows the happiness that animals can bring when life goes wrong. Experiencing animals up close was a wish she needed to face the daily challenges of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
ALL is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). Treating ALL usually requires a 3 to 4-month intense chemotherapy treatment followed by two years of maintenance treatments. Some children need to spend extended stays in the hospital while undergoing treatment for ALL.
This past May, Emmaryiah’s wish to travel with her parents and two sisters to San Diego Zoo Safari Park was granted as a much-needed escape from grueling medical treatments and scary doctor visits.
The wish experience was full of activities, including time at Birch Aquarium at Scripps, which features more than 60 habitats of fish and invertebrates, a VIP tour of Safari Park at the San Diego Zoo where animals are presented in a more natural setting than the conventional zoo, and more. Emmaryiah and her family also had free time to explore the sights and beaches of San Diego.
At nearby Nurtured by Nature, a wildlife facility that offers behind-the-scenes encounters, Emmaryiah was treated to even more time with animals. Each exotic creature she met there – including otters, pacas, lemurs and more – put a wide smile on her face, a priceless gift for her parents. Through this fun experience Nurtured by Nature took the opportunity to teach Emmaryiah about each animal, its habitat, and how human behavior affects the natural world.
Thanks to her time in San Diego, Emmaryiah felt the pure joy that comes from being immersed in something you love, and created cherished memories with her family. Emmaryiah’s father stated that “the wish was a huge sigh of relief. It makes you forget what might be going on back home. We all enjoyed every second.”
You can see more photos from Emmaryiah’s wish on Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s Flickr page, https://www.flickr.com/photos/makeawishwisconsin/albums/72157710270225502.
Wish Granters: Candace Richter & Lorna Whalenn
Sponsors: Butters-Fetting Co., Inc.; Yacht Blast For Kids