MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ - Fifteen-year-old Sylvie from Summit has always had a profound interest in marine biology, and dreamed of one day traveling around the world to explore the culture of Bora Bora and swim with exotic marine life. But a dream vacation like this was something she thought would remain simply that – a dream.
Over the past year, Sylvie has had to endure difficult and often frightening medical treatments that come with battling a critical illness. The normal day-to-day life of an average teenager was taken away from her, and instead replaced with doctor appointments, hospital visits, and lengthy time away from friends and family.
Sylvie and her family were introduced to Make-A-Wish and, what followed, was a very special and memorable moment that helped bring light into a dark time in their lives. For Sylvie, the opportunity to experience a wish gave her something to look forward to, and served as a happy distraction from her treatments.
In March, Sylvie and her family embarked on what would be, according to Sylvie, a “once in a lifetime trip” to Bora Bora. During their trip, they stayed in a hut over the water, swam with sharks and sea turtles, ate fabulous food, basked in the sun, and most importantly, spent time together as a family – creating happy memories to replace the fears and anxiety of the prior year.
“The promise of a Make-A-Wish trip was one of the bright spots that kept me going during treatment,” Sylvie shared. “Dreaming about where I could go and what I could do when I was healthy again gave me hope when it felt like things couldn’t get any worse.”
Sylvie’s wish was granted thanks to funds raised by local Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants as part of this year’s 'Month of Giving' campaign. In March, 60 Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants throughout the Garden State joined forces with Make-A-Wish New Jersey, raising vital funds needed to aid the organization in its mission. The monthlong customer-donation campaign, which culminated with the 'Day of Giving', a day when Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants donated 100% of the day’s sales – every single dollar that came in – raised $377,000 for Make-A-Wish New Jersey.
Sylvie’s wish is among over 35 wishes that are being granted thanks to the success of this year’s campaign.
Make-A-Wish New Jersey's mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Now celebrating its 35th anniversary, Make-A-Wish New Jersey has granted over 10,000 wishes since its inception in 1983 – a record 530 wishes last year alone. With a goal of granting well over 500 wishes again this year, the generous support of corporations like Jersey Mike’s Subs is critical to the organization’s continued success.
For more information about Make-A-Wish New Jersey, visit nj.wish.org.