On a snowy night in downtown Denver, groups of teenagers, parents and children huddled outside the Hard Rock Café holding homemade posters and clutching their phones, waiting for something. For someone. Excited chatter filled the air: “When is she coming?” “Is that her?” “I can’t wait to meet her!” Suddenly, between snowflakes, the object of their anticipation appeared: a pink limousine slowly cruising down the street toward the crowd. Chants filled the air as the limo door flung open: “Gabby!” “Gabby!” “Gabby!” Out popped an 8-year-old girl dressed in a leather jacket and a cat ear headband.
The famous Gabby had arrived.
Gabby is an energetic, bubbly and confident young girl from Thornton, Colorado. A year and a half ago, she was diagnosed with leukemia and will continue chemotherapy for another six months. Though her illness has altered her life, it hasn’t dampened her indomitable spirit or one-of-a-kind fashion sense. “She gets dressed up for chemo,” her mom explains. That fact sums up Gabby well: no matter the circumstances, she still always shines in her own unique way.
Gabby was referred to Make-A-Wish® Colorado to have her one true wish granted. That wish? To be famous.
What did being famous mean to Gabby? She had some ideas. It meant signing autographs, taking pictures with her fans, walking around with her entourage and having her own bodyguards. Beyond that, fame brought something to Gabby that cancer had taken away. According to Gabby, being famous gave her and her family a chance to “focus on the good stuff instead of the scary stuff.”
Gabby’s wish began with the help of Mountain Vista High School through the Kids for Wish Kids® program that works with local students to raise money on behalf of Make-A-Wish Colorado. The students at Mountain Vista treated Gabby as a VIP, from interviewing her on the student-run talk show to throwing a massive dance party in the school gym that kicked off her weekend with a bang.
Throughout the weekend, Gabby’s star power only grew. The family stayed in the penthouse suite of The Four Seasons – Denver where they enjoyed panoramic views of the city and mountains, as well as room service and a monogrammed robe for Gabby. She rode around town in a pink limo, got a makeover and had a shopping spree with her very own personal shopper!
She even hosted a meet-and-greet for her fans at The Hard Rock Café where she signed her headshots and posed for photos with all her dedicated fans before retiring for the night; being famous, apparently, is quite exhausting.
Gabby’s wish culminated with the biggest idea yet: an “Epic Bash,” hosted in her honor to celebrate her fame with all her family and friends. “Dress to impress,” the invitations read and those invited heeded the instructions. Her guests arrived and enjoyed a specially curated menu of Gabby’s favorite foods: chicken fingers and french fries, along with a cotton candy machine and cake. Partygoers smiled in the photo booth and even had a chance to craft some cat ear headbands of their own to look just like Gabby. The party ended with Gabby handing out awards to the best dressed and best dancer at the event, which was another key aspect of fame in her mind.
Although her wish experience is over, Gabby’s fame remains. She is known as the unforgettable little girl whose wish captured the imagination of an entire community; the rising star whose infectious giggle played out on major Denver radio stations; whose signature red lips and cat ears appeared on TV interviews with local news outlets; whose charismatic personality shone in front of large crowds; and whose hashtag on social media went viral as people cheered her on from around the world helping to #MakeGabbyFamous.