Rachel’s wish was granted through the kind generosity of our great friends at Fretz RV’s in Souderton. Rachel had requested a trailer that had bunk beds for all of her siblings and Fretz RV found a perfect fit for them. They truly made her wish come true and continued their dedication to granting wishes by running a month-long Facebook "Like" campaign for us.
Rachel, a triplet and the oldest of six siblings, knows the importance of family. At age ten, she’s already experience more than many kids her age. Last winter, just after her mom gave birth to her baby sister, Rachel caught a cold that seemed to be going around. But long after everyone else got better, Rachel just couldn’t stop coughing. Something was different about her cough. She stopped eating and drinking because it would cause her to vomit. She was severely dehydrated and sent to the ER. She spent a few days in the hospital where they discovered some abnormally high white blood cells.
Leukemia. It wasn’t a word anyone expected to hear. With her baby sister just six weeks old, this was supposed to be a time of joy. Instead, shock, disbelief and fear took over. “You’re just hit with it,” Rachel’s mom said. “This doesn’t happen to me. Now what?”
Rachel needed three rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. She spent three months in the hospital, missing so much of what was happening at home. It made her angry and frustrated to have her life turned completely upside-down. Rachel was always the leader amongst her siblings, a take charge kind of kid. But this was something she just couldn’t control. It’s not unusual for wish kids to feel this way. Life as they knew it is gone—replaced with something painful and frightening. Rachel was taken completely out of her safe, happy world and no matter how much children’s hospital rooms can try to be fun and cheerful, sickness lurks everywhere, rearing its ugly head every time a nurse comes in to administer medication or a doctor makes rounds and pokes and prods her.
While Rachel was in the hospital, one of the social workers gave her a pamphlet on Make-A-Wish. Rachel’s mom decided to refer her, hoping to bring some happiness back. When wish granters asked Rachel what her one true wish would be, she had to do a lot of thinking. People suggested visiting the American Girl Store in New York or going to a water park but Rachel was under quarantine for nearly a year and waiting was something she just didn’t do well. One of her favorite toys was a doll camper. She loved playing with it and started to think of having one of her own. The idea took hold.
Rachel went camper shopping at a local dealer and picked out her dream camper. It was a tall order for our wish granting team, but thanks to the support and generosity of our community, we were able to grant Rachel’s wish. The anticipation of her wish helped Rachel get through her hospital stays. “She tried to shut everyone out,” Rachel’s dad said. The camper became something they could talk about while he stayed with her in the hospital. It was something they could dream about together.
On the day of her wish reveal, Rachel’s mom did her best to keep her six kids inside and away from the windows, but when the camper arrived, the excitement was overwhelming for everyone. Screams and shouts came from all of the kids. “She was so happy,” Rachel’s dad told us. “This was really happening.” Everyone was happy—the camper was Rachel’s wish, but everyone went through this with her. This was something they all could enjoy. Being under quarantine has been tough on everyone. Having the camper was like getting away without really going anywhere. Now the trailer serves as an escape for all of them, where they can just have fun and enjoy being a family. Rachel’s wish experience reminded them all that no matter what they may endure, they have each other along for the ride.