Despite the setbacks that came with being diagnosed with ovarian cancer at a young age, Brianna knew that she still wanted to help others during their tough times. When Brianna learned that she was eligible for a wish, her passion for travel and love of giving back inspired her wish to volunteer in another country.
The Make-A-Wish volunteer team were also inspired by this unusual wish. Working closely with Brianna and her family, they put together exactly the experience that Brianna wished for – a trip to Costa Rica, where Brianna and her family would give their time to an orphanage and helping other children in difficult situations.
In Costa Rica, the family stayed in a local residence along with other volunteers. Every day they drove to the orphanage where they played games, held dance practices, helped build a swing set, went on excursions in the forest, and even helped teach the children English.
Each day was filled with purpose as Brianna built relationships with the children and did whatever she could to help improve their lives. While Brianna watched the children play and share only one soccer ball among the entire group, she noticed how their attitudes remained positive. According to Brianna, even though she was giving back to the kids, they also gave her valuable lessons on life. She recalls, “there is so much that can be taken for granted in life. It is important to take in every moment and not be disappointed when not everything goes as planned.”
Now 18, Brianna’s goals still include helping others. Currently studying to become a speech pathologist, Brianna works as a teacher’s assistant. She continues to give back to Make-A-Wish as a Wish Ambassador and spokesperson.