Carleton, MI (March 2010): – Eighteen-year-old Rachel is a pretty young girl with a shy smile who loves watching professional gymnastics. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys studying art, collecting post cards, and watching comedies. She never misses an episode of Friends or 7th Heaven and thinks that Jim Carrey is hilarious. And like most young girls, Rachel finds a great deal of joy and inspiration from listening to music, counting Jewel and Celine Dion as her two all-time favorite singers.
Her mother, Peggy, contends that Rachel is an incredibly happy and sweet girl with a huge heart who rarely lets anything get her down. Peggy says that her daughter has a sensitive empathy towards others that is wise beyond her years. Rachel’s quiet, easygoing, and compassionate nature is in fact remarkable, considering all of the many challenges that this special girl has had to face in her young life.
In 1994, Rachel was diagnosed with a disease known as ataxia telangiectasia. A-T is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects a number of body systems very seriously. Rachel has experienced rapid muscle deterioration and is now confined permanently to a wheelchair. She experiences frequent tremors, as she has no control of her muscle. Like other kids with A-T, Rachel has a poor immune system and is at a high risk of developing cancer. In spite of everything, however, Rachel maintains a positive attitude and is incredibly grateful for her family. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Rachel focuses her energy on those who she feels are less fortunate.
Rachel was recently referred anonymously to Kids Wish Network, a Florida-based children’s wish granting organization. Peggy began the application process and was delighted to learn that Rachel was indeed eligible for a wish come true. There was no hesitation when Rachel was asked what she wanted most: she had her heart set on seeing Celine Dion perform live on stage!
Rachel’s Kids Wish Network Wish Coordinator quickly began the arrangements to make Rachel’s wish an extra special dream come true. She not only secured airline tickets, she also booked hotel accommodations, and made dinner reservations for Rachel and her mother at area restaurants. Most importantly however, she arranged for tickets to one of Celine’s concerts at Caesar’s Palace and a personal meet and greet with Rachel and her idol. Soon, Rachel was on a plane bound for the Las Vegas strip and a very special appointment with Celine Dion.
Peggy said that the entire experience was amazing for Rachel. “Everyone was so wonderful. We were treated so well by everybody!” Rachel was admittedly a little shy at first when she met Celine but was moved by how kind and sweet she was to her. The pair exchanged gifts and posed for pictures before the big concert. Peggy and Rachel agreed that the show was simply amazing. “It was excellent!”
Rachel returned home after her whirlwind adventure tired, but full of special memories. Peggy said she was grateful for how wonderful their Kids Wish Network Wish Coordinator, Madeline, was to Rachel. “She was so kind and made us feel so comfortable.” She also said that the trip meant a great deal to her daughter. “She’ll never forget this!”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Rachel’s wish extra special: The Consumers Electronic Association