Annie’s wish helped her share her inspiring story

Annie is your typical teenager — she loves pop culture and has hobbies that range from performing folk music to training in Jiu Jitsu, and she enjoys spending quality time with her friends and loved ones. Annie also lives with cystic fibrosis, a critical illness that affects her lungs and makes it difficult for her to breathe.

“Cystic fibrosis is a full body illness that I was born with,” Annie says. “I have to take 75 pills and medications, spend six hours a day on treatments and am constantly connected to an IV.” Annie’s condition made her eligible for a wish.

Annie put a lot of thought into her wish — she wanted to make sure whatever she chose was not only memorable, but also impactful. “What would you do if you had to choose your dream on the spot?” Annie asks, as she thinks back to the moment she met her volunteer wish granters. “‘Dream big!’ they said.” Which is exactly what Annie did.

Annie wished to speak at WE Day Vancouver. WE Day is a series of massive events held in cities across North America to engage and empower youth. The events feature guest speakers that include celebrities, musicians, influential politicians and community leaders. Annie had an important message to share, and she knew this event would be the perfect platform.

“Once I chose my wish, I nervously waited to hear if I would make it into WE Day,” Annie says. “I was so anxious, I even put together a resume and letter about my social advocacy.”

Annie found out that her wish would come true while she was at the hospital, being treated for complications stemming from her cystic fibrosis.

“During a very difficult time, Craig Kielburger, the co-founder of WE and Free the Children, walked into my hospital room carrying a big bunch of WE bracelets,” Annie says. “He told me that Make-A-Wish was hooking me up with a speech coach, tickets to WE Day, and a cameraman to document my wish!”

Annie still smiles when she thinks back to the moments that led to her wish being granted. “I was told my wish would be the best experience of my life, but I didn’t know that Make-A-Wish really goes above and beyond to make wishes so incredible,” she says. “I’m continuously in shock of the kindness and effort of each team member I met.”

Annie’s experience on the WE Day stage in Vancouver was life-changing. Here’s what she had to say about it:

“I performed my speech the best I could have ever imagined. Shockingly, in front of the 18,000 people, I was a calm as a cucumber — I knew that was my moment and I needed to do myself proud. I felt this electric spark of connecting and hitting home with the youth in the audience. And towards the end of my speech, the crowd was cheering so loudly, I had to yell to be heard.”

When Annie reflects and speaks about her wish, her energy is palpable. One can’t help but smile, knowing that this vibrant young girl’s wish came true, thanks to the support and connections of the national Make-A-Wish community.

Today, Annie continues to feel the effect of her wish coming true. After her speech, she was invited to speak at other WE Day events across the country, including at the Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

“Thanks to the spectacular combination of Make-A-Wish and my determination, I’m not living a life governed by pain or illness — I’m finally proud of my life,” Annie says. “Make-A-Wish picks you up at your very worst moments, brushes you off, gives you hope and laughter, and memories that travel with you through your toughest times and your best times. They put you back on your feet after you have been repeatedly knocked down. These memories give me strength that I didn't even know I had, to continue the daily, exhausting fight for life.”

When a wish is granted, it does much more than bring joy to a child’s heart. For kids like Annie, who are living with critical illnesses, a wish-come-true provides them with strength to battle through darkness and gives them hope for healthier, happier days ahead. Be part of the magic and transform the lives of children living with critical illnesses. Help grant a wish by donating today.   

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