12-year-old wish kid Stella has always loved learning about Japanese culture. She read books and watched YouTube videos about travelling in Japan. Stella loves sushi and started teaching herself common Japanese phrases like “ohayo gozaimasi” (good morning) and “arigato gozaimasu” (thank you very much). She also watched characters from her favorite television shows visit Japan. After battling a heart condition, she found out Make-A-Wish®
Mid-Atlantic would be granting her wish and she immediately wished to go to Tokyo, Japan.
Stella and her family traveled from their home in Baltimore, MD, to Japan, where they were able to visit Mount Fuji and go to the top of Skytree, the tallest tower in the world. Stella loved trying a lot of different foods, like takoyaki, which is fried octopus dumplings, and Ebi Filet-O, a shrimp sandwich from McDonalds!
Stella learned about different parts of Japanese history by visiting shrines and being able to soak up the culture. Her favorite part of the trip, however, was playing with hedgehogs in a hedgehog café. This was something Stella was not expecting to see, but she was eager to try new things while on this trip. Stella’s wish opened her eyes to the differences between her culture and others around the world. She was excited to bring her experiences back to the states, along with plenty of special new memories with her family.
“Our trip was incredible,” her mom stated. “It was everything Stella wanted and so much more. We all learned so much and enjoyed having the luxury of a full week to really take in the city of Tokyo!” Stella’s family was especially grateful for how Stella’s brother Simon was not forgotten in the process. A medical journey is tough not just on the wish child, but on their siblings as well, which is why it was so important and special that Stella’s wish-granting volunteers thought of Simon from the beginning to the very end. A wish for a single child can affect an entire community, bringing awareness about critical illnesses and transforming the lives of everyone around them.