Make-A-Wish Stories: Samuel and Oriel
The Make-A-Wish Foundation delivers life-changing wishes for children between the ages of 30 months and 18 years old who have been diagnosed with a critical illness. As a partner of Make-A-Wish®Southern Florida, the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation supports the organization through granting wishes and donating towards a Make-A-Wish endowment and capital campaign. The Finker-Frenkel Foundation is also a major supporter of the Make-A-Wish Southern Florida Wish House, a capital project that is nearing completion, and Foundation director Eugene Frenkel is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Southern Florida chapter.
Hope is a strong emotion. For children battling leukemia, the importance of hope cannot be overstated. As the most common cancer in kids and teens, leukemia causes the cells in a child’s bone marrow to create errors in their DNA. In many cases, leukemia can progress rapidly and, if not caught and treated, can be fatal within just a few short months.
On top of the fear and stress plaguing both children and their families after a cancer diagnosis, leukemia is typically treated with chemotherapy, which can cause severe side effects like loss of appetite, mouth sores, nausea and vomiting—things that make young patients feel a whole lot worse before they feel better. Hope is critical during the treatment process, and hope is what the folks at Make-A-Wish Southern Florida bring the kids they serve. The goal is to give them an experience that makes them forget, even for a moment, about the tough things they’re going through, and inspires them to dream. Hope and dreams are resilient and can carry us beyond the physical limitations we believe are present.
Through donations from the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, two children battling leukemia were able to get an experience that did just that. Here are their stories:
Samuel’s unforgettable shopping spree
Eleven-year-old Samuel is a technology fan, especially when it comes to Apple products. From AirPods to Apple Watches and the latest iPhone, if Apple makes it, rest assured Samuel knows what makes it tick. While being treated for leukemia, he spent a lot of time considering what he wanted his wish to be and eventually, the answer came to him fully formed: a day at the mall to snag all his favorite Apple gadgets—and more!
The day of his wish, a limo pulled up outside Samuel’s house, whisking him and his family away to Miami’s Dadeland Mall in style. During this fun-filled shopping spree, Samuel stocked up on all the latest Apple tech, a new pair of fresh kicks, and much more. For the whole day, Samuel got to drop all his worries about medical tests, leukemia treatment, and the high price tags on Apple products. Being able to buy what he wanted without thinking about the cost made him feel like a king, and he left looking sharp and feeling ready for all the challenges life will continue to throw at him during his treatment.
Samuel was referred to Make-A-Wish by his wonderful nurse, Lilliam Rimblas, and his wish was granted by Alex de Armas and Ariana Lorenzo.
Oriel’s magical cruise
When your childhood is centered around cancer treatment and trips to the doctor’s office, daydreaming about magical places can be a great escape. Five-year-old Oriel’s happy place? A tropical adventure with his whole family.
Through Make-A-Wish, the magical place Oriel imagined became a real-life cruise to the Bahamas. Oriel had a blast setting sail and relaxing on deck as the waves rolled by. During the cruise, he spent hours splashing away in the pool, enjoying delicious treats at the buffet, attending nightly shows, and taking in the sights of the ocean with the people he loves most: his family.
“We never thought we would have an opportunity to go on a cruise,” said Oriel’s dad, who is so grateful to Make-A-Wish for creating such a happy memory for them during a very difficult time.
Oriel loved every second of his cruise experience—and his parents say the anticipation of the trip helped him give him something to look forward to during his exhaustive treatment, and made him feel hopeful for the future.
Oriel’s wish was referred by his child life specialist, Shalese Bennett, and granted by Martha Carmen and Katia Rodrigues.
For more information on Make-A-Wish Southern Florida and the wish-granting process, please visit https://sfla.wish.org/about-us/the-make-a-wish-story/granting-wishes