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Mo’orea is place few know, but when Arianalynn asked Make-A-Wish to send her to this scenic, tropical island in French Polynesia, her volunteer team worked wonders to make her wish come true.
Arianalynn loves the ocean despite the fact that her medical condition – mixed connective tissue disease - does not allow her to be in the sun. Her diagnosis in April 2011 resulted in a long and painful series of treatments. According to her mom, “Arianalynn’s monthly infusions have been a lot of trial and error with different drugs over the past few years, as none of the treatments were working for her.” During this time, she was homeschooled from freshman year to junior year. Arianalynn returned to high school for her senior year so that she could rejoin her friends and graduate with them. Unfortunately, her condition worsened, and she had to undergo several more months of chemotherapy. Despite all the uncertainty and physical, emotional, and mental pain, Arianalynn found her inner strength to fight through it all and stay strong.
Due to her condition and constant fatigue, Arianalynn had to give up many other things in her life – including dancing and hanging out with her friends. When given the opportunity to have a wish, she was encouraged to look deep inside and ask for anything she wanted. According to her mom, “this is truly what she wanted to do – travel to a foreign country and experience one of the most beautiful places in the world.” It wasn’t long before Arianalynn and her family were on their way to Mo’orea, a short plane ride from Tahiti, to enjoy the beautiful scenery, peaceful atmosphere, and delicious food.
Upon arrival, Arianalynn said that Mo’orea was “breathtaking, and left me speechless.” She confessed that she had no idea of the indescribable beauty of the ocean and tropical scenery. “Make-A-Wish gave me something I would never be able to have – a chance to forget about everything and to just completely relax.” She was able to see and play with dolphins, go snorkeling, try paddle boarding, and go swimming with the sharks. She and her family stayed in a hut surrounded by water, where they constantly saw a multitude of sea creatures. Arianalynn said it was “a moment of pure tranquility.”
According to Arianalynn, her experience “has given me a better perspective on how to live my life.” Her mother added, “Arianalynn was definitely rejuvenated and happy after the trip. She appears more excited now and just simply seems to enjoy life more.”
Arianalynn’s wish affected her so deeply that she has changed her career aspirations. Before her wish, she wanted to work in a hospital, caring and providing for patients, as hospital workers had done for her. But now, Arianalynn says she would like to volunteer or work for Make-A-Wish so she can positively impact someone’s life, make a difference and make a child feel as happy or even happier than she did on her wish. “Despite the odds,” she says, “no matter how it feels, Make-A-Wish gives kids a chance to forget about their problems and live and enjoy life as a kid.”
Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles is grateful to Jewelers For Children for adopting Arianalynn's wish.