Before Rachel was diagnosed with cancer, she planned to go to college to study nutrition. Now, after three years of treatments and so much time spent in and out of hospitals and hooked up to IVs, Rachel is attending Simmons College to study data science and biostatistics, interning at both Maine Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. She hopes to use her experience as a cancer survivor to help in her career as an oncological researcher.
When Rachel’s social worker at Maine Children’s Cancer Program referred her to Make-A-Wish Maine, her wish “to go to Scotland” was a clear choice. “Rachel has always wanted to visit Scotland, long before she had cancer. She’s always been fascinated by the mountains and castles,” says her Mom, Lori.
Rachel’s wish granters planned her wish trip with her while she was still in treatment; passports were obtained, flights were booked, and an itinerary was planned out––then, Rachel found out she needed emergency back surgery. This meant the trip had to be postponed for almost a year, adding to the list of bad news the family had to cope with.
Discouraged, and feeling like she was fighting a never-ending battle, Rachel never gave up. She decided to focus most of her energy on what she wanted to do while on her wish trip to Scotland. After multiple back surgeries and countless trips to and from Boston, Rachel was finally ready to go on her wish trip.
When the family made it across the pond, they had a healing, stress-free experience that helped them to relax and recuperate from the last few years of anxiety and medical chaos. Rachel and her family spent three days in Edinburgh, staying in a castle and visiting the Surgeon’s Hall Museum and Greyfriars Kirkyard, then traveling to Glasgow for a few more days of shopping, relaxing, and tea and scones at their castle bed and breakfast. Next, the family took a tour of the Scottish Highlands, including a visit to Loch Ness.
This trip came at the end of three completely draining years of treatment for Rachel. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma in December 2016, Rachel underwent chemotherapy, radiation, multiple surgeries, and is still dealing with infections and complications from surgeries. Having a family member with such an aggressive form of bone cancer has made life much more difficult for her family, too. “Rachel’s diagnosis had made us all a little paranoid and anxious about any ache or pain. It’s hard to live in constant fear and worry,” says her Mom.
Not only did Rachel’s wish trip fulfill a lifelong dream of hers, it gave her family a reprieve from the exhausting anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis, even if just for a couple of weeks.
Thank you, Tyler Technologies for your donation of frequent flier miles through the Wishes in Flight® program. Your generous support helps make life better for communities, families and wish kids, like Rachel. More than 70 percent of our wish kids need to travel for their wishes to come true. And many of them step onto the jetway because of you. Thank you for donating your air miles and helping us share the power of a wish.