One of the unique features of Make-A-Wish is the extra step that the volunteers take to make not just the actual wish, but the entire experience, memorable and magical for the child.
Aliza’s wish reveal party was a great example of this, where everyone went above and beyond to create a spectacular dance party sendoff to get her pumped for her upcoming trip to the tropical paradise of Hawaii. Because Aliza was a big American Idol fan, everyone came together to help adorn her middle school with decorations fit for a VIP celebrity. Balloons lined the hallways, dancing cutouts covered the doors, and a red carpet lined the floor leading into the party. Family, friends, classmates, and teachers gathered on each side of the red carpet, holding posters for their special guest, reading things like “Aliza Rocks!” and “We Love You Aliza!” She was surely the center of attention when she walked through the door, greeted by the cheers and smiles of all her favorite people.
Wish Granters Kristen and Deb made sure that the event was fit for the true star, including great decorations, delicious food, and tons of singing and dancing. Kristen and Deb were able to get Chick-Fil-A to cater the event, a great illustration of how simply reaching out to a company can produce amazing results. As if it was fate, one of the Chick-Fil-A staff members catering the event was a previous wish child herself! Tallulah, who was given a two year life expectancy after birth, talked about overcoming obstacles and how she has fought to beat those tough medical odds. In a heartfelt address, Tallulah offered words of encouragement to Aliza:
“My message to you is to stay strong no matter with what life throws at you. You may have a down in your life, but look around, look at all of the positive attributes you have in your life like your family, your friends, your peers, your teachers, Make-A-Wish, and now me. We all believe in the greatness that you have to offer the world, and to fight through this you need to believe in yourself, too!”
Tallulah, who had also visited Hawaii for her wish, gifted Aliza with a piece of lava rock from her own trip and assured her it would be the best vacation ever. Next, Aliza sang “Roar”, an inspirational and empowering song by Katy Perry, to get everyone on their feet dancing. After enjoying the delicious food that Tallulah and Chick-Fil-A provided, everyone delighted in the custom-made cake celebrating both the American Idol party and Aliza’s upcoming Hawaii vacation!
Of course, Aliza and her family had the time of their life in Hawaii – surfing, enjoying the sun, and relishing in the simple moments to be together. After the entire wish experience, Aliza was on cloud nine from all the love and support she had received. While Hawaii will always be her wish, the spectacular reveal party coordinated by our Make-A-Wish volunteers helped to show Aliza what a star she was, and just how many people believed in her. This is the hope for every wish child, that with some clever planning and fresh ideas from our wish coordinators, we are able to show children how much we care and how much they are loved.
Thank you to all of our Make-A-Wish volunteers that work hard to make every moment of the wish process special!