Through the Vanessa’s Wish program, named in honor of Vanessa Sanchez, children under the age of 5 with a terminal diagnosis or Juvenille Neuordegenerative disease will be able to have an expense free vacation at Give Kids the World in Orlando, Florida.
After meeting Jennifer and Alvaro Sanchez our family was touched by the story of their beautiful daughter and their hearts for other families facing the terminal diagnosis of a child. We created the Vanessa’s Wish program as a way to help other families and create something in memory of Vanessa Sanchez.
A personal story
Our daughter Vanessa was a bright spirit who at two was walking and talking, but mostly laughing and dancing. Around the time of her 2nd birthday we noticed she had begun to fall a lot, which raised some concerns. After numerous doctor appointments we were told it looked like nothing major was wrong with her, yet she kept declining.
After an MRI in May 2004 our world was forever changed when doctors told us they believed Vanessa had a fatal neurodegenerative disease. Following genetic testing, it was confirmed that she had Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD). This disease would quickly rob Vanessa of her ability to walk, talk, eat, see, hear and dance. Our only instructions were to take our daughter home and love her. We were told we would be lucky if she lived to see her 5th birthday.
After coming out of the black hole of the pain from this fatal diagnosis, we knew we had a lifetime to live in a short amount of time. We decided we would create as many happy memories as we could with our daughter Vanessa, while she still had her abilities.
Unfortunately, at the time of diagnosis, Vanessa was too young to qualify for a ‘wish trip’ and by the time she was old enough, SHE no longer was able to verbalize her wish (one of the criteria of wish granting organizations) making her ineligible.
Vanessa was never able to have a final wish trip, but now, through Vanessa’s Wish, other children under 5 (with a life threatening diagnosis) or those with a Juvenille Neuordegenerative disease will be able to experience an amazing wish trip that will give them memories to hold onto for a lifetime.
Jennifer & Alvaro Sanchez