When 17-year-old Dianelly
learned that Make-A-Wish®
would grant her wish to go on a cruise she expected it to be enjoyable, but she never thought that her wish trip would have such a profound impact on her life. According to Dianelly, she came away from her wish trip with much more than memories. She declares that she literally went onboard as one person, and came off as another. Her story truly demonstrates the lasting impact of a wish on a young person.
Dianelly tells us that Christmas caroling on the spectacularly decorated promenade deck of the Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, surrounded by loved ones, crew members and other passengers, was the highlight of her trip. The cruise offered “the relief from all of the old stress” that she so greatly needed. The shows, food, teen dances, cupcake making, scavenger hunts and all other onboard activities contributed to what Dianelly describes as “the best experience” of her life.
According to both Dianelly and her mom, prior to the cruise she was very quiet and had little or no interest in speaking to people she did not know. She held all of her problems inside, which not only included her own health issues, but those of her mom who had become quite ill in the year prior to the cruise. But, the staff of The Explorer of the Seas changed all of that, Dianelly tells us. They treated her like family and taught her to open up and speak about her worries. They provided a safe haven where she could express all that she felt. It was the first time that she started to talk about her mom’s illness. And now she’s happy to share the good times, too.
The impact that Dianelly’s wish has had on her family is best described by her mother, who likens its effect to that of giving water to someone parched, thirsty and in need of a drink. The cruise provided them with the sustenance they needed to take away the pain and help them forget, if just for a little while, all they were going through. According to Dianelly and her family, Make-A-Wish provided love, hope and the realization that wishes do come true, something they will be grateful for forever.
Wish-granting volunteers: Lauren Flanagan & Christine Cookman
Wish story writer: Robin Bazhdari