She loved video games, Taco Bell, and watching the Disney Channel. In fact, she loved everything Disney—her dream had always been to go to Walt Disney World® Resort and meet her favorite heroes in person. When she was in middle school, her parents were concerned that she was not growing at the same rate as her peers, but Rebeca thought of herself as a late bloomer. It wasn’t until after a sweat test that Rebeca was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
Rebeca says that her life then changed; she recalls that she had a friend on her school bus that also had cystic fibrosis, and after her diagnosis, they could no longer be friends. She continued going to school, but her home life changed because of her medicine dose at every meal. Soon, she was introduced to her Wish Granters and figuring out her wish was a “happy blur” as she didn’t know at first what to pick. Soon, though, it became apparent that she was off to Walt Disney World® Resort.
Her wish trip finally arrived when a limo whisked Rebeca and her family off to the airport, which she said was like being in a movie. She could hardly believe it when she was soon greeted at the gates of the Magic Kingdom by Minnie herself! “What an amazing time I had!” says Rebeca. Her mother adds “The wonder I witnessed on her little face when she learned she was going to Walt Disney World® Resort will never be forgotten.”
Rebeca took in all of the rides—sometimes two or three times, had breakfast with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, and was tucked into bed by the mayor himself of the Give Kids the World Villa. (The mayor is a bunny character, and Rebeca and he became fast friends.) She recalls that the Villa was colorful and enjoyed being a VIP. Besides visiting Walt Disney World® Resort—where she became quite chummy with the Little Mermaid!—Rebeca also visited Sea World and Wet ‘N Wild. As Rebeca herself put it “Thank you to everyone who has touched my heart.”
But Rebeca’s story is not over. Now 21, she is a volunteer at Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada and serves as a Wish Granter. Of the Wish Kids that she has worked with, she calls her experience “emotional” but is happy to work with them, because as a former Wish Kid herself, she understands what they are going through. “Knowing you could die is such a weird and sad feeling, especially for the young,” she says. “My wish was something special to look forward to…even if was just to have a new topic at the dinner table. Taking my mind off of my illness was a gift."