15-year-old Sara has grown up with dogs in her home her entire life. Being deaf from a genetic disorder, dogs bring Sara a sense of companionship and comfort that has been hard for her to achieve otherwise. Her dream is to work at an animal rescue or become a vet in order to give back to animals for all they have done for her.
When Sara found out she would be receiving a wish from Make-A-Wish®
Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, her mind instantly went to her two wonderful German Shepherds – Zeke and Angel. Since her dogs are so big, they can be difficult to control…even on walks around her neighborhood. Sara spent most of her time playing indoors with Zeke and Angel for their own safety, but knew they wished they could run freely outside. That’s when it hit Sara: she could wish to have a fenced-in yard for Zeke and Angel to play outdoors!
“For two years, my dogs couldn’t play because they would always have a collar on,” Sara signed. “I really wanted to have a fence because it would offer my dogs freedom.” Sara knew she could have wished to go on a trip or meet her favorite celebrity, “but this we could have forever!”
Sara’s wish marked an important milestone for Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley: it would be their 7,000th wish granted. The Make-A-Wish staff couldn’t think of a better wish to signify this achievement for the chapter, because they were all so inspired by Sara’s generosity to use her wish to give back. The team decided they would plan a big celebration to commemorate Sara’s giving spirit and their 7,000th local wish.
Then, a crisis hit that no one could have ever expected: COVID-19 prevented large gatherings, like Sara’s wish celebration. The Make-A-Wish team wouldn’t let this stop them from making Sara feel extra special. They organized a surprise car parade to drive by Sara’s house the day her fence was installed, which included over 40 cars decorated with balloons and posters. The parade was escorted by the local the police and fire stations with their sirens blaring.
“Many of our wishes had to be postponed because of the travel and large gathering ban,” said Dennis Heron, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley on Sara’s wish day. “This is extra exciting for us to deliver a wish that really was to give to her whole family, not just herself. That is touching to us as an organization.”
Now more than ever, hope is essential. Sara’s wish gave her hope and joy during a time when she is isolated and vulnerable due to COVID-19. Her mom shared that the wish experience gave Sara “more energy forces” to cope with her condition and treatment. Even though Sara must stay home for her health and safety, she can now play outside all day long with her dogs without a worry in the world – that is the power of a wish.