Zaira always dreamed of having an extravagant quinceañera like many girls her age, but her dreams came to a halt when she learned of her lymphoma diagnosis. While most teenagers spend their time at football games or the movies, Zaira was consumed by chemotherapy treatments and forced to face her fears, by fighting for her life at just 14 years old.
Feeling isolated and alone, Zaira found strength in dreaming of a special night that would make her feel normal and lively again. A quinceañera, surrounded by those she loved most, would be just the thing to make her feel like herself again.
A quinceañera marks the transition from childhood into womanhood and is an important rite of passage for Latina girls. Zaira was paired with volunteer wish granters, Jeff and Janna, who encouraged her creative imagination and ideas. It was then that Zaira explained her desires for a Paris-themed evening, complete with exquisite chandeliers suspended from the ceilings and a decadent chocolate fountain.
Janna and Jeff connected their wish coordinator with a local TV station, Entravision. The story grew until more than ten local companies jumped on board to help grant this wish. On August 22, 2015, Zaira’s wish turned into a reality before her very eyes, all because a community rallied together to bring hope, strength, and joy to one very special girl.
Beaming with pride, Zaira’s mother shared, “This was a difficult time in our life, and now I feel like we’ve overcome this and everything is a big celebration for her. More than anything, now, she can resume celebrating life again”.
Zaira’s resilience is proof that the impact of a wish is a vital part of the healing process.