“Wishes do get granted”

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

From the heart with Ronnie Michel

My twelve year old daughter, Elise, has always dreamed of walking the crowded streets of New York City. She has never dreamed of becoming ill. I find it odd that a dreaded disease would somehow give way to the fulfillment of a dream. It’s been said that life happens after you’ve made other plans and this adage has held true for Elise.

Last year, while planning to begin the sixth grade, Elise was diagnosed with lymphoma. She bravely endured chemotherapy and I am blessed to report that she is well. Upon conclusion of her treatment, Elise was contacted by the Make A Wish Foundation which grants wishes to children diagnosed with a life threatening disease. Elise shared her dream of going to New York. Her father suggested that she ask to go to Disney World. “Daddy,” she replied, “I’ve been to Disney World. I don’t think that you’ll ever take me to New York.” (Besides being brave, Elise is also very wise!)

We soon discovered that Make A Wish was going to grant Elise’s desire by sending our family of seven to New York for Christmas. Although we tried to imagine what it would be like, none of us were prepared for the actual adventure. Not only did we receive plane tickets and hotel reservations, but a detail itinerary was provided to make sure that we maximized our four day visit.

We toured the city, mostly on foot, and marveled at all of the sights that we had only seen in pictures and on television. The tree at Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and Central Park were all amazing to see. The freezing rain didn’t stop us from running around the Statue of Liberty, for we were determined to do and see as much as we could. We even successfully rode the subway. However, I don’t think any of us were prepared to view Ground Zero, The site of the Twin Towers. We all just solemnly and silently stood and stared at the scene of September 11th tragedy.

The Make A Wish Found-ation also made it possible for us to see Beauty and the Beast and The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Both performances were beyond our expectations, especially the dramatic living Nativity scene which concluded the Christmas Spectacular. And just when I thought that it couldn’t get any better, as we exited Radio City Music Hall, it began to snow. Now, I thought, we have truly experienced Christmas in New York.

Yes, Elise was granted her wish to walk the crowded streets of New York City. And as I watched my healthy daughter confidently navigate the crowd, I thanked God that my wish for her life had also been granted.