Her big dreams were surrounding her as she put the final touches on her dorm room. It was her space. The place she had dreamt about for years. Her independence had become a reality. Jessica, 18, had received her wish – a college scholarship to Grand Valley State University (GVSU).
“Without this wish, I would not be sitting at my desk at Grand Valley right now. Without this wish I wouldn’t get to experience campus life,” said Jessica. “I think it is very crucial to get a good education.”
Jessica was a junior in high school when she first got sick. She spent a month in the hospital and began missing a lot of school, which affected her favorite activity of playing music. She started dialysis and received a kidney transplant during her senior year.
“Music has always been a huge part of my life,” said Jessica, who started playing the flute when she was 10 years old. “As a senior in high school at the time, I had things to see, places to go, stuff to do. I missed out on that entire season of marching band and only went to one football game that year. It was a rough year for me.”
Throughout high school, Jessica said she knew she eventually wanted a career working with people.
“The time I spent in the hospital with my health problems helped me realize that working in the medical field was my true passion,” she said. “I knew getting a nursing degree wasn’t going to be cheap.”
As college loomed, Jessica recovered from her kidney transplant and began the wish-granting process with Make-A-Wish Michigan. With dreams to obtain her nursing degree, she decided to wish for a college scholarship.
“Make-A-Wish provided me with an opportunity that would have been unattainable without them,” Jessica said. “I am so unbelievably thankful for the things that they have helped me accomplish thus far.”
GVSU welcomed Jessica to campus with a GVSU and college-themed gift basket. The Make-A-Wish experience, including her wish-granting volunteers, also left an everlasting impression on Jessica.
“I would say that the best part of the wish, or even the wish-granting process, was how friendly everyone was,” Jessica said. “Now with my scholarship, I can truly experience all GVSU has to offer, and I would have never been able to do that without (Make-A-Wish)."