By Jillian Christian, Adult “Wish Kid”
My wish was granted in 1999, when I was 14 years old, after being diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus at age 12. While I was well aware of the physical toll lupus was putting me through, I had no idea the emotional toll it had taken on, not only me, but also my family.
Make-A-Wish® sent my family, my best friend, and me to New York City to meet one of the few people who could still make me crack a smile back then, Rosie O’Donnell. I only spent a few minutes with Rosie but I can honestly say the best part of my wish was spending time with my family. We got a private tour of the Empire State Building, saw “Cats” on Broadway, visited FAO Schwarz, and ate at the Hard Rock Café. I don’t think I laughed that much since before I had been diagnosed. My family and best friend were so happy and it felt like a huge burden had been lifted from all of our shoulders in those few short days. Make-A-Wish® gave me hope that I could still make happy memories; that there was still hope my dreams could come true.
Since my wish, I have been striving to make happy memories whenever I can. I finished high school and went on to college and didn’t stop until I got my master’s degree. I married the sweetest man that I know and we just celebrated our fifth anniversary. I spend most of my free time with my family or coaching girls volleyball, field hockey and track at my high school. I also train with my husband for triathlons, cycling events and 5K events to keep my body as healthy as I possibly can because we want to make the most of the good days that I am given.
Lupus is still part of my everyday life and has, on more than one occasion, slowed me down. But my experience with Make-A-Wish® has taught me that you can never give up hope, that good times are just around the corner. With that knowledge, I am able to face every morning with hope and look to the possibilities that the day might hold.