Described by her mom as “1000% girl,” 14-year-old Connie loves makeup, fashion, and shopping—even modeling in pageants! The difference between Connie any other teenager: instead of going to school every day, she goes to the clinic to undergo chemotherapy treatments.
Diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukemia on January 15, 2015, Connie still loves glitz, glamour, and special attention. As she started losing her long locks of hair, depression set in. Her mom took her to places on the Strip to try to bring back her smile.
As Make-A-Wish volunteers first met with Connie, they encountered a very ill young lady – in fact, the interview ended early so that family could take her to the hospital. When asked about her wish in a follow-up trip, Connie wished to be a Vegas VIP, to experience her new Las Vegas home in style with her mom and her sister in a special way. She envisioned a “fancy suite” at the Venetian overlooking the Strip, a massage, and fashion-filled shopping. Her main reasoning: “I want to feel good.” She wanted to feel special, beautiful and pampered. When our partners at The Venetian heard of Connie’s VIP interest, they sprang into action coordinating every detail of her itinerary – something they do for VIPs every day!
Connie’s VIP wish began with a limousine trip from home to the Venetian VIP arrival with a curb-side meet & greet and photo-op with George Markantonis – President/COO of the Venetian|Palazzo – and a great many other staff members presenting bouquets of flowers. Also present at her arrival: Miss Nevada and Miss Teen Nevada, donning Connie immediately with her own sash and crown as Miss Venetian. After a quick trip to the VIP lounge, the bell team escorted the family to the Penthouse Suite – 2,900 square feet of world-class amenities atop the three highest floors of the hotel. A customized welcome amenity and signed poster from the staff welcomed her. After acclimating to the suite, staff arranged dinner at Canaletto that evening complete with special message in St. Mark’s Square before attending a performance of the Human Nature show.
After in-suite dining the next morning, the Canyon Ranch Spa team welcomed Connie, her mom, and sister for makeup, manicures, and pedicures before enjoying lunch at Grimaldi’s. Then the Venetian assigned a personal butler to Connie to escort her through the Grand Canal Shops at Palazzo for shopping, courtesy of a donated gift card from General Growth Properties. That evening: her red-carpet experience included Venetian staff members galore, her Wish Granter volunteers, the cast of Human Nature, and gawking spectators! No red carpet experience is complete without photo posing and an interview with Kim and Dana Wagner of Wake up with the Wagners, News3 Las Vegas.
That night, at Buddy V’s for dinner, Buddy Valastro himself recorded a special presentation before staff unveiled a cake for Connie and her family. A gondola ride concluded the evening.
Sadly, the next morning, reality caught up with Connie’s dream wish experience and she fell ill, requiring hospitalization. Not undeterred, upon her return to health, the Venetian welcomed the family back for their final night. Make-A-Wish also invited Connie to Criss Angel’s VIP opening-night, red-carpet celebration of his new show, Mindfreak, where she stood arm in arm with Criss himself in front of paparazzi before taking in the show with her family—a truly unique VIP experience.
While Connie continues to battle her cancer, mom told us about her wish experience at the Venetian: “The staff was awesome. She really loved the red carpet treatment and being interviewed...loved all the meals. She has special mementos that I hung on her wall.” Connie’s wish not only allowed her to be “1000% girl,” her wish brought together the Venetian|Palazzo community to share in creating her one-of-a-kind experience.