Thirteen-year-old Bridget was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2014. She told us, "the first time you hear you have cancer it's like, 'oh my gosh, what the heck is going on?'"
Thirteen-year old Bridget was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2014. “The first time you hear you have cancer it’s like ‘oh my gosh, what the heck is going on?’” she said. That’s a question Bridget’s mother asked herself as well. “She was pulled from dancing, pulled from softball, she couldn’t run for at least a couple years,” added her mom Shannon. It was a difficult time for the entire family, but as Shannon put it, “You buck up and do what you have to do.”
It’s been three years since Bridget first heard those words that would change her life as she knew it. Change it in ways that most of us would find hard to accept, much less a 10-year-old kid. But Bridget is no ordinary kid. She wasn’t worrying about herself during her three years of treatments, she was worrying about her mom, dad and twin sister Aiden.
“When I was diagnosed they were all terrified. I was terrified. I kept thinking I’ve gotta be happy so they can be happy. I’ve gotta make them feel alright no matter how tough it is, no matter how sick I feel, I have to make them feel ok,” Bridget said. So despite everything she was going through, Bridget continued to have a smile on her face to let them know everything was going to be ok.
For her wish, Bridget decided she wanted to go to the Atlantis Resort. She knew it was something that her whole family would love, and it fulfilled her dream of playing with dolphins, seals, and other sea life. “I love animals, I love the sea and I’m going to be a marine biologist someday,” Bridget told us.
“This was a trip of a life time for all of us and something we couldn’t do on our own,” said Shannon. She continued, “We all have some PTSD from this whole experience. The chance for the four of us to just go away and be with Bridget and watch her enjoy everything she wanted to do was amazing,” said Shannon. Bridget added, “Make-A-wish gives kids the opportunity to do something in their lives that they might not have had a chance to do in their lifetime. These wishes make kids happy in their time of need. It definitely made me happy and has given me the courage to deal with the challenges I still face because of my cancer.”
Bridget is referring to the effects of her chemotherapy treatments. While her cancer is in remission, the effects from her treatment are continuing to wreak havoc on her body, specifically her bones. Bridget has already undergone reconstructive surgery for her elbows, hips, one shoulder and is currently scheduled for surgery on the second. But through it all, Bridget has a smile on her face, and often laughs when she thinks about all she’s been through.
Recently, Bridget was invited to share her story with the Chi Omega’s at The University of Texas as they planned for the new school year. All eyes were on Bridget as she shared details of her journey, the joy of her wish, and the challenges that lie ahead. “Hearing Bridget's story reminded me of one of the main reasons I joined Chi Omega. Chi Omega allows me and my sisters to make a true difference in family's lives right here in our own community. Bridget lit up the room when speaking about her wish trip. Her appreciation and excitement were so clear from the way she spoke and I know that none of us are ever going to forget the smile she had on her face. I love raising money for Make-A-Wish because of children like Bridget. These kids remind all of us of the importance of giving back to our community. Make-A-Wish truly does bring hope, strength and joy to all those who are part of a wish,” said Jordan, UT Chi Omega member. She added, “Bridget, and other wish kids we’ve been able to raise money for, are our motivation to keep going when times are challenging.”