In 2013, Sara and her mom were in Minneapolis for a doctor’s appointment. After the appointment, they went back to their hotel and received a phone call that would dramatically change their lives.
Sara’s doctor told her that she couldn’t leave Minneapolis because her kidneys were failing. She went straight to the hospital and had an emergency surgery to place a shunt in her chest and started dialysis. She was a very sick girl.
She began daily dialysis and was eventually able to go to a three day per week schedule. She and her mom were together, but away from the rest of her family at home in Belcourt and that was hard. As her dialysis continued, Sara was faced with the choice of moving to Minneapolis to continue her dialysis or her mom, JoAnn, could learn how to do in-home dialysis. It was a tough choice but in the end, being with her family and friends was something she couldn’t be without. JoAnn went to classes to learn about peritoneal dialysis and taking care of Sara and she was able to go home.
It wasn’t easy though. Sara underwent dialysis seven days a week for 12 hours each day. She was hooked up to dialysis from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., every day. This affected her life in a big way. She didn’t get to be a “regular” teenage girl, she wasn’t able to hang out with her friends and family and do her normal activities like running, swimming, or playing sports.
This was a dark time in Sara’s life and there were many times she wanted to give up. But, she was lucky to have her mom with her through it all encouraging her as she went and making sure she never gave up hope.
Sara had been placed on the kidney transplant list and her doctors warned her that it was a waiting game because they had to make sure they found the very best kidney they could for her. There were a couple false alarms but finally, the call came and Sara underwent her kidney transplant surgery on August 24, 2014.
After her transplant, a social worker with her care team told JoAnn about Make-A-Wish and suggested that she refer Sara. One day, Sara came home and her mom started talking to her about what would she want to do if she could wish for anything. Sara had no idea and wasn’t sure what her mom was talking about. She told her that she was eligible for a wish. Sara was so excited that it was hard for her to even think of something to wish for. She spent lots of time thinking about it but finally decided that she wanted to go to Walt Disney World® Resort.
Sara found out that her wish was coming true when her wish granting volunteers stopped by their house to visit. They told her that her that her magical trip was planned and Sara couldn’t believe it was all happening.
Soon after her wish reveal, Sara and her family boarded a plane and landed in sunny Orlando, Florida. Her wish began as the family checked into Give Kids the World Village®
They spent the next several days taking in all the fun and excitement of Walt Disney World® Resort. They spent time at Universal Studios Florida™, Magic Kingdom® and Animal Kingdom®.
Her favorite part was Universal Studios because there was so much to do! But front row seats for the parade at the Magic Kingdom was a close second. Sara says, “I enjoyed every minute of my wish”. She was happy to have her whole family on her wish and spend time together making lifelong memories. When Sara was sick, she and her mom spent a lot of time in Minneapolis away from family so it was perfect to have everyone together again on her wish.
Sara’s wish made a big impact on her life. Every time she thinks about it, she says, “it makes me so happy!”