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Twin sisters, Bridget and Sophie, were elite swim athletes whose lives changed in an instant. While the girls were training at the pool, Sophie suffered a massive heart attack and began to drown. Bridget jumped into the pool to save her and after 11 minutes of CPR and use of the defibrillator, Sophie’s heart started, and she was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Sophie was diagnosed with a critical heart condition. Bridget was tested as well and discovered that her heart was in even worse condition than her sister’s.
The girls’ diagnoses turned their lives upside down. As they came to terms with what this could mean for their futures, there were many difficult days. The family was devastated by the girls’ health challenges and the opportunity to have their wishes granted was a welcome distraction.
Sophie is a little shy, but once she warms up to people, she enjoys making them laugh. Bridget is the outgoing sister and is always willing to lend a helping hand. The twin sisters have very different personalities, but they shared a common wish.
During their stay at the hospital, Bridget and Sophie watched nature shows every day. The girls discovered their love for elephants and were fascinated by the majestic animals. They both wished to go on an African safari to see elephants in their natural habitat.
Make-A-Wish® volunteers and the twins’ family and friends surprised the girls at school with the news that their wish would soon be coming true. Bridget, Sophie and their parents were going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Tanzania.
The wish experience was exactly what the girls had dreamed of. On safari they saw elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos, warthogs, ostriches, a leopard and thousands of zebras and wildebeest. The family had the opportunity to camp while on safari and listen to the sounds of the untamed wilderness all around them.
“The girls cried tears of joy on so many occasions,” said Christine, Bridget and Sophie’s mom. “This was a trip of a lifetime - an opportunity for our family to bond and experience something incredibly special together.”
For Sophie and Bridget, their wish was the perfect end to their summer before beginning a new chapter in their lives and starting university.
"After our diagnosis, it felt like we didn't have anything exciting happening in our lives, or to look forward to,” said Bridget. “And then to be able to have that experience with our whole family right before Sophie and I left for university made it that much more special."
"It gave us something to look forward to,” said Sophie. “On bad days we would spend our time making packing lists and looking up photos. Since the diagnosis, we felt like nothing had been going our way and we were constantly disappointed and felt cursed. This wish finally made us feel lucky and that we finally had good things coming our way.”
When a wish is granted, it does much more than bring joy to a child’s heart. For wish kids like Bridget and Sophie, who are faced with critical illnesses, a wish-come-true provides them with strength to battle through darkness and hope for healthier, happier days ahead.
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