Teresa had her wish granted in 2004 at the age of 16. She wished to have a laptop so she could keep up with school work and talk with friends while home recovering from a life-threatening surgery in high school. Teresa's laptop traveled with her to college and was an every day reminder of her wish day.
Teresa was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as “brittle bone disease”. As a child, she also had scoliosis, a condition that was causing her spine to compress her lungs. Because of this, Teresa was told that she would need to have surgery to fix her spine. The spinal fusion surgery would help correct her scoliosis and was very intensive and required a long recovery, resulting in Teresa having to miss most of her sophomore year of high school. Due to her condition and the life-threatening spinal fusion surgery she was about to endure, Teresa was referred to Make-A-Wish® Colorado in 2004, at the age of 16, by a family friend.
Like most teenagers, Teresa loved her cell phone and talking with her friends on a daily basis was very important to her. Even as a child, she was known for always being outgoing, happy and positive about life. Teresa was devastated at the thought of being away from her friends at school while recovering from surgery so she decided to use her wish as a way to stay connected.
Teresa wished to have an Apple PowerBook G4 laptop computer with a webcam so that she would be able to chat with her friends while she was at home recovering. The laptop would also help her catch up on school work while at home.
On the day of her wish, Teresa’s wish grantor and former Board Chair, Gary Aboussie and his family, delivered Teresa’s new laptop along with a few other goodies including a webcam, a printer, a digital camera and several computer programs.
“Receiving my new laptop was a very magical time for me,” said Teresa. “It was comforting to know that life was still happening during this stressful time and it gave me things to look forward to after my spinal fusion, things like prom, graduation and college.”
Years after her wish, Teresa continued to use her laptop for chatting with friends and doing homework. Teresa even took the laptop with her to college at the University of Colorado-Boulder where she graduated with a degree in Integrated Physiology in 2011. Throughout college, Teresa did volunteer work and was always reminded of her wish experience when she typed on her laptop.
“My wish day was an incredible escape from my daily realities and also taught me a lot about nonprofits and the importance of giving back,” said Teresa. “The wish experience inspired me to pursue a career in helping others and led me to my internship in Washington D.C. with the American Association of People with Disabilities.”
Today, Teresa is 25 years old and still keeps in touch with her wish grantor, Gary. She is looking into graduate programs in Public Health and continues to be part of the Make-A-Wish family. Her god-daughter, Anicee, who suffers from the same condition as Teresa, was recently granted a wish to visit a dude ranch in July 2013.