NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 2020): Isabel is described as an old soul. Being an avid reader, she’s often spotted with a book in tow. Her own story has a plot twist. Isabel was having severe headaches and found out she had Chiari malformation. She underwent brain surgery, and although she missed many days of school, still excelled with honors. Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life-threatening illnesses, came up with a captivating literary adventure. Isabel’s wish was revealed to her during a surprise party at school. She and her parents were being flown to NYC to experience the iconic Strand Book Store and Big Apple. This chapter of her story unfolded with happy tears and hugs.
Isabel found herself at Strand in more ways than one… When she arrived, her life-size image appeared on a digital sign welcoming her as their special guest for the day. “So many people were looking at her and wondering who she was. She felt like a celebrity,” said her mom Amy.
She was given a private tour of the store including their Rare Book Room that takes up an entire floor. Isabel was also in awe seeing The Vault, a locked cabinet containing a coveted antique collection of signed first editions. “The Strand was like nothing we’d ever seen,” said her mom. “Her eyes lit up seeing so many books. It was just amazing seeing the joy from what she loves coming true.”
She also received a gift card and personal shopper to navigate the 4 story bibliophile’s paradise. Before the trip, her dad teased about the empty suitcase among their packed luggage. Her mom jokingly reminded him they were going to a bookstore with Isabel. The bulging book-filled suitcase filled with her literary souvenirs spoke volumes. Which was her favorite? Isabel smiled, “Oh… there’s so many, I can’t choose just one!”
During the wish, her family stayed at the chic Dream Midtown hotel, and dined at The Capital Grille and Hard Rock Cafe who took Isabel to an exclusive area above their marquee for a magical view of Times Square.
“Isabel’s love of books inspired us to create this book lover’s dream. Her smile shows it was the perfect wish,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for making Isabel’s dreams become a reality:
- Strand Book Store
- Dream Midtown hotel
- The Capital Grille
- Hard Rock Cafe