At Make-A-Wish, we know that each wish is as unique as the child who makes it. For her wish, 11-year-old Zuriel had something very special in mind: to meet a man who had traveled to outer space – Astronaut Terry Virts.
When Zuriel was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer she was admitted to the hospital and very quickly started treatment. Her life turned upside-down overnight. One constant, however, provided comfort for her - her love for the podcast Adventures in Odyssey.
One afternoon she was listening to the podcast and astronaut Terry Virts was the guest. She was curious about space and intrigued by everything he spoke about.When it was time to choose a wish, it came to her quickly. “It tied together two things she loved,” her mother Lorri explained, “her interest in space and her love for Adventures in Odyssey.”
In August 2018, Zuriel’s wish to meet Terry Virts came true. She and her family flew to Orlando, where she met Terry at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. She and her family spent the day touring the center with Terry as their guide. “We got to see an actual space shuttle! Terry had piloted a space shuttle on one of his missions and it was so cool getting to see it with him,” Zuriel shared. “We also got to do a simulator of landing a space shuttle with him. He had done a real landing before and he joked, ‘This is hard, the real thing is way easier!’” Virts had filmed a movie called “A Beautiful Planet” while on his mission and Zuriel sat right next to him as they watched the film together.
Wishes are more than a single moment in time. Experiencing a wish come true can have a life-long impact. As Zuriel reflected on her wish day, she said, “When I’m disappointed or something isn’t going right, I can go back to that place. I go back and remember that people care about me.” That’s the true power of a wish.