Ever since Kyla was a little girl and watched “Midnight in Paris,” she dreamed of going to The City of Light. She imagined herself strolling along the Seine and visiting the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. She had always assumed that day was far-off, a part of her distant future, and she didn’t let herself think about it too much.
Everything changed when she got sick. At 17, Kyla was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Amidst the anguish of hospital rooms and treatments and visits to the doctor, Kyla found out about Make-A-Wish. She stumbled upon the website and got lost reading about the adventures wish kids had experienced. At first, she didn’t think she would qualify – she thought perhaps she was too old for it – but was excited to learn that Make-A-Wish grants wishes to patients between the ages of two-and-a-half and eighteen. Soon after, she learned that she would, in fact, be granted a wish.
It took no time to decide on a trip to Paris to fulfill her childhood dream. Kyla eagerly anticipated the day she would leave for her wish. “In the beginning, all I thought about was my next treatment. But when I found out about my wish, and I would think about the outfits I would wear in Paris. I would watch French movies, make lists of things to do there. I thought about it every day.”
With so many things to do in Paris, Kyla hardly knew where to start. Her hotel was right in the middle of the city, within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Roué de Paris, a 200-foot tall Ferris wheel. She was even able to squeeze in a trip to the theme parks at Disneyland Paris.
“The architecture and everything about it was so beautiful,” she recounted. “It was such a dream. And the staff at the hotel, the flight attendants at airport, and my wish coordinator all were so nice to us.”
Kyla knows that the picture painted by her illness would have been very different had she not been granted a wish. “If I looked back and didn’t have the wish, I would be so bitter about everything that happened. I would have just been so sad. The wish makes me think more positively about what I went through. There are good things that came out of it.”
Kyla still thinks about her trip often. She’ll see an outfit in her closet and remember wearing it in Paris, or she’ll come across a piece of luggage from her trip. Make-A-Wish and the experiences they provide is also a popular topic of conversation in Kyra’s cancer survivor support. “I love hearing about other people’s wishes. They’re all so amazing!” she recalled.
The trip impacted Kyla’s life for the better. “I’m sure I’m going to live there one day,” she gushed. “I have to start practicing my French!”