Press Release

Burn Victim Honored as Finalist for Hero of the Year

Burn victim Isabella thought she was going back to Maricopa Medical Center for another session of physical therapy. Instead, the 9-year-old was surprised with a party to celebrate her being a finalist for Kids Wish Network’s Hero of the Year. The Hero program awards children who have faced life-altering circumstances with extreme courage.

Family, friends and hospital staff gathered to honor Isabella – there was pizza and lots of hugs. Kids Wish Network awarded this super Hero finalist with a certificate and a $1,000 Walmart Gift Card.

A bonfire accident forever changed Isabella’s life… she suffered third degree burns on half her body, spending nine months undergoing treatments at the hospital’s Arizona Burn Center. Throughout her tedious recovery, she maintained a positive attitude and inspired everyone in her presence, as well as others from afar. Superstar Taylor Swift saw a video that Isabella recorded for her while still hospitalized. Her idol was so touched by her message, that she surprised her with a private hospital visit.

Isabella’s journey in healing was full of uncertainty, pain, extensive skin grafting and therapies. She continually pushed herself, and remained focused on each day instead of worrying about all the challenges ahead. Even on her toughest days, she would still express concern for other burn victims in surrounding rooms, and share a smile and hello with them. She also now aspires to be a nurse.

“Isabella went through the unimaginable, and bravely faced all the pain and challenges with unwavering determination,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai. “We’re so honored to award Isabella as a Hero of the Year finalist.”

Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children with life-threatening conditions and struggling with life-altering situations. KWN provides trip expenses, meals, accommodations and additional spending monies to all wish families whenever traveling as applicable. Visit to learn about our different programs, and find out how you can help make dreams come true and sponsor a wish for a deserving child.