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Months before a big move, weeks before a dream vacation, days before a birthday – these are just some of the instances when we feel extra giddy. Looking forward to something happening, the wait and anticipation are often as enjoyable as the actual events. The same can be said about a wish.

Wish kid Rhianne, 11 with leukemia, once wished to travel to Hong Kong and visit the happiest place on earth – Disneyland. While travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic may have put her wish realization temporarily on hold, that didn’t mean that Make-A-Wish stopped supporting and inspiring her and her family to be hopeful. Instead, the Make-A-Wish Philippines team focused on wish anticipation activities that related to her love of Disney characters and shows. Let’s look back at what we’ve done so far with Rhianne to prepare her for the trip of a lifetime!

A Taste of Hong Kong

Before going on a trip, one must prep up their taste buds! In 2019, Make-A-Wish Philippines brought Rhianne and her mom to a Chinese restaurant to learn about the different types of dim sum. After getting her “first taste” of Hong Kong cuisine, Rhianne felt pleasantly surprised when she received a message from Mickey and Minnie Mouse that they would be meeting her soon at Disneyland.

A Disney Wish Box

Important during trips – a bucket list! To make the experience more meaningful, MAWPH helped Rhianne do the “Wish Box” activity. Rhianne designed a box and filled it with her favorite things. She also included a lists of places that she’s excited to see and adventures that she’s eager to experience on the trip.

Collage of wish kid receiving a hug from a Disney Princess actor

An Ode To Frozen

HK Disneyland’s Anna and Elsa refused to let go of Rhianne as they hugged each other in a fun meet-and-greet. The Disney princesses visited the Philippines during the Walt Disney Philippines Christmas event in 2019 where they hung out with Rhianne and other wish kids.

A Themed Care Package

In late 2019, Rhianne’s trip was postponed due to unsafe travel circumstances to Hong Kong. When COVID hit a few months later, her wish realization was pushed back even further. It was important for the Make-A-Wish team to assure Rhianne that her wish wasn’t canceled. Instead, it was just moved to a later date.

To make the wait worthwhile, the team continued to engage with Rhianne to give her hope, strength, and joy. To uplift Rhianne’s spirits, the volunteers prepared a Disney-themed care package containing Disney merchandise, a personalized activity book for Rhianne, masks, alcohol, and a cap she can later use for her trip to Disneyland.

Wish kid in a Zoom call with Make-A-Wish Philippines staff and volunteers

A Message from Arendelle

2020 eventually came to an end but the bond between Rhianne and Make-A-Wish was stronger than ever. During a catch-up call via Zoom, Rhianne shared some good news – she received an Achiever’s Award in school! In celebration, the volunteers secured a special message from Anna and Elsa for Rhianne telling her that they are just waiting until it’s safe for her to come and visit them in Arendelle. A special thanks to Hong Kong Disneyland for delivering this good news.

A Birthday Surprise

Life doesn’t stop even in a pandemic and everyone continues to grow. On Rhianne’s 11th birthday, Make-A-Wish staff visited her home while following strict safety protocols for a surprise party. Thanks to Sugar Project by Marie, the team was able to host a cupcake decorating activity.

The party was made complete with Rhianne’s favorite Disney characters – Elsa and Anna. Thanks to Clowning Around Manila, the sisters from Arendelle were able to attend the party via Zoom call. The cherry on top was a video greeting from the cast members of Hong Kong Disneyland telling Rhianne to stay strong and that they’re waiting and excited to meet her. 

We remain excited as we wait to make Rhianne’s wish finally come true. During this time filled with uncertainties, one thing is for sure – we will continue to bring hope, strength, and joy to as many Filipino children with critical illnesses as we can. And with your help, we can make that happen!

Email us at info@wishes.ph to learn more about what we do at Make-A-Wish Philippines. You may also help us reach those in need by donating resources, volunteering your time, or connecting us with potential wish kids, families, and communities.