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Volunteers, Jen and Wayne, are partners in life and in wish granting. They’ve helped create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses for several years now and recently, they told us the story of Cheyenne’s incredible wish.
Cheyenne lives with a rare disease that has resulted in multiple health complications, including the devastating, ongoing deterioration of her eyesight. At age 17, her life is more challenging than many of us can imagine – Cheyenne’s medical condition creates a dark shadow over what should be the best years of her life. She struggles with loneliness that comes with managing her illness and the challenges of living with compromised vision. In spite of all of this, Cheyenne remains optimistic about her future and her wish gave her a chance to dream big.
Jen and Wayne describe Cheyenne as shy, but confident and articulate. She quickly became excited and animated when talking about her interests in music, art and travel. They spoke for hours and learned that Cheyenne isn’t a typical teenager; her life has been hard and while she is very young, she has an old soul. She put a lot of thought into her wish and asked Make-A-Wish to help her discover her roots.
Cheyenne wished to travel to Newfoundland to meet her extended family and learn more about her heritage. She was excited about getting to know her long-distance relatives and couldn’t wait to travel to another part of Canada before her eyesight is further affected.
“She wanted it to be an adventure and she didn’t want to just fly there, Cheyenne wanted to take a train and a ferry and see as much as she could on her journey,” says Wayne.
Jen and Wayne arranged to surprise Cheyenne with the news that her wish would soon come true. The pair presented Cheyenne with a special cake and celebrated with her loved ones. She couldn’t believe that the trip she’d been dreaming of for so long was finally happening.
Her voyage began with a limo ride to the VIA Rail Canada station in Toronto, where she and her family were welcomed at the business class lounge and then given a beautiful cabin aboard the train. Cheyenne met a band that performed an impromptu concert on the train and she says that while she sat there enjoying the music, she felt happy and excited about all of the good things in her life.
Cheyenne arrived in Nova Scotia after a relaxing train ride. The next big leg of her trip was an overnight ferry that would bring her to Newfoundland. The ferry crew treated Cheyenne like a celebrity. Her family was assigned a very special suite reserved for VIP guests and the crew planned a party for Cheyenne to help introduce her to Newfoundland culture. They prepared a special meal of corned beef and cabbage and gave her souvenirs to remind her of the trip. The captain also invited Cheyenne to visit the bridge and help steer the ferry.
After arriving at their home away from home in St. John’s, Cheyenne was off to see the sights. She saw puffins and whales, visited historic locations and monuments and enjoyed traditional Newfoundland cuisine.
On the day that Cheyenne met her extended family, she arrived at her uncle’s house where he had invited many of her local relatives. Cheyenne says that when she met her family, it was like talking to people she’s known her whole life. Her relatives wished she could stay longer and that’s when she knew that she would have to visit again soon.
“Cheyenne had felt like she was missing something for a long time and she’d finally found it - a family bond that she hopes will continue to grow.”
Cheyenne was also able to visit The Rooms, a museum that holds archives of the history of Newfoundland and its genealogy. She hopes to return one day and spend more time going through the archives to see how far back she can trace her roots.
When Cheyenne returned from her journey, Jenn and Wayne asked her to describe how she felt about her wish, “It was perfect, more than I could have ever dreamed. It was an unimaginable adventure!”
Thanks to volunteer wish granters, Jen and Wayne, the captain and crew of MV Atlantic Vision, WestJet, VIA Rail Canada, A Celebrity Limousine Services Inc., TuGo, Airbnb, Sony Canada Charitable Foundation and everyone who made Cheyenne’s wish a life-changing experience.