Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Wish

Where do I begin? How about being treated like a princess, shopping at Macy's, riding in a limo, or ice skating in the magical Rockefeller Center? And that is just the tip of the iceberg on my trip to New York City.

Let's start at the beginning. When I was first diagnosed, I was visited by a lovely couple who generously volunteers their time to Make A Wish. They asked me if I could have anything or go anywhere I wanted, what would it be? My wish was one I had thought about. Actually, I had stressed about it for days,  asking myself over and over again "What is your biggest wish?" I am so blessed with wonderful family and friends, passion for life, strong faith, and a second chance at life. When it hit me, I was the most excited I'd been in months. I wanted to inspire people to join the National Marrow Registry on a national platform. It's the thing that brings me the most joy, knowing that maybe, just maybe I made a difference in someone elses' life. I will admit a trip to Bora Bora, meeting Justin Bieber, and shopping all passed through my mind, but absolutely nothing made my heart happier than the thought of spreading the word about the need for donors.

This past December, I received a phone call telling me my wish had come true. My family and I packed our bags and were headed to New York City compliments of Go Daddy who sponsored my wish. They gave us a thick itinerary packed with sightseeing, hotel details, limo rides, and so much more. My Mom, who is always in charge of travel plans was stunned that she didn't have to plan a single thing. Every little detail seemed to spoil my family and me. We were picked up from our house by another Make-A-Wish volunteer, in his limo. I was one of 2,000 kids he had picked up over the years. Even just on our way to the airport I was inspired by his generosity. We arrived at the hotel in New York and met up with Aunt Ro. I had thought about this trip for so long, and I couldn't have imagined it without her.

The next day we went to Macy's. They had a huge hand in helping make my wish come true. To my surprise, we were escorted into a room where we met the loveliest Macy's employees, Allison, Christine, and Kim. They had picked out clothes for me to try on. They were giving me an outfit to wear for the actual interview and one to wear around New York City. Honestly, that in itself was a dream come true! There were racks of clothes and shoes in my size. We met the most amazing employees, who were so gracious and welcoming, not to mention they had AMAZING taste. They spent there entire day helping me, after we picked out the outfit they took me downstairs to cosmetics. We walked over to the Bobbi Brown counter to be greeted by another extraordinary group of people. They did my make up and even gave me products the they used. Like I said, a dream come true in itself.

Thursday night, we got lost on a way to a restaurant we had wanted to try. I was exhausted. We walked for what seemed like forever. Everyone seemed to be reaching there last nerve. We ended up walking back towards the hotel and had dinner at a restaurant called Cinema. It was an old time movie theater made into a restaurant. I don't know if it was the fact that we were so hungry or relieved to no longer be walking, but we had a really special family dinner. The food was great, we were passing our plates, laughing, and talking. It was yet another memory to cherish. And a reminder that sometimes you have to take the long way to something great. (FYI: It turned out the restaurant we had started out looking for was a street vendor or a food truck. No wonder we couldn't find it, it was on wheels!)

Thursday night at 2am (technically Friday morning) I woke up nauseous from the Iron chelating medication I was taking. Nausea woke me, but nerves kept me awake. I couldn't fall back asleep for hours. Thankfully, Caitlin, a Bobbi Brown make up artist was a miracle worker, no trace of the long night I'd had was visible after she was done. She had generously offered to come do my make up for "The Early Show" and again made me feel so beautiful.

We were picked up at our hotel in a town car by Make-A-Wish volunteer, Cindy, and were escorted to CBS. My family and I waited with Macy's employees and Make A Wish volunteers while we watched the first half of the show take place. Again, they were the most infectious group of women. They were a good support system backstage.  A show producer came and talked to me and explained how things worked. They were so kind to take the time when I am sure they had a million other things going on. It was fun to get a behind the scenes look, especially for a girl who wants to pursue journalism. Finally we were escorted downstairs to the studio. I was miked and lint rolled. Yes, someone lint rolled my dress for me, I told you they treated me like a princess! And then I took my place on the couch with Martine Reardon, CMO of Macy's. A commercial break took place and Erica Hill and Jeff Glor made there way to the couch, introduced themselves, and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...we were rolling! It went by so quickly, I was just hoping no one could see me shaking in my heels. That morning, I was on a high. As we said our goodbyes, we got back in the car and I grabbed my phone and saw I had several e-mails.They were pouring in from people who had watched the segment and had already been on my website to join the registry. I read the e-mails and was overjoyed at their enthusiasm, the sweet stories they shared, and the hope they were giving so many by joining the registry. We went back to the hotel and I took a long nap, and believe me; I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

The fun ensued when Ryan told me an anonymous source gave us tickets to the Z100's Jingle Ball. Not only did they give us tickets, but they gave us tickets in the event level seating. In other words, WOW. We were two rows away from Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Gym Class Heroes, Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, Pumped up Kicks, the list goes on and on. I was dancing and singing the entire night. Needless to say, I was exhausted, but it was worth every beautiful lyric and beat I heard that night. We took a taxi back to the hotel, in true New York City style.

The next day, we went ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Of course, Make A Wish had it arranged that we got to skip the lines. I was running on adrenaline as we skated around and around. Ryan and Allan were holding me on both sides. I would have hated for an injury to mar the electricity in the air that night as we skated under the Rockefeller Center tree. At one point a little boy crashed into me and Ryan was holding three people up at one time. It was quite a feat. Of course, being so determined that I could do it, I took a few laps by myself and I survived without falling.

We flew home Sunday afternoon. I was still on cloud nine. Honestly, the word that sums it up for me is beautiful. From the kind-hearted and generous people I met to the city in it's Christmas splendor, everything was just beautiful. The memories they gave my family and me will truly be cherished. New York left me inspired, motivated, thankful, and refreshed. And for that, I am so grateful to everyone who helped make it possible.

3 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved reading about your trip in detail and seeing all the pictures!! You are a special, special girl!! Can't wait to see you in a couple weeks! Love ya, Jena

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  2. The McCord FamilyMarch 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Ceci!!! So great to hear about your trip. You are an amazing woman, and we think about you everyday! So nice to hear about you sharing your story and getting the word out about becoming a donor. You ROCK!! We are glad you enjoyed your trip and that you had so much fun.
    We love you Ceci!!
    The McCord Family

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  3. Loved the video----you looked so beautiful and your brothers looked mighty handsome also!!! I am soooo glad you all got to have such a good time. Your wish is so very unselfish----more of us should be just like you. Thanks for sharing all of it with us. Much love and prayers, Kathy & Rexie

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