Sarah’s fascination with dolphins started an early age. She would watch anything she could on TV about dolphins. In fact, even her elementary school (District 7 Elementary School) mascot was a dolphin. So when she was given the opportunity to select her wish from Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, she wanted to spend time with dolphins, learning more about how they lived, what they ate and how they trained.
But before going on her one-week trip to Florida, Sarah was treated like a princess during a wish celebration held at REEDS Jewelers at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville near her hometown. The party was scheduled through a national corporate partnership with Jewelers for Children. This year, Jewelers for Children has committed $575,000 to Make-A-Wish with the goal to grant one wish in every state within the United States, including Sarah’s wish to go to the beach and swim with dolphins.
Store Manager Chris McLamb and his staff presented Sarah with a tiara and had all her favorite snacks waiting on her when she arrived. She received several gifts and gift cards that the store team had collected from neighboring stores. “She was amazed,” said her mom, Tara. “It was like the bags had no bottom.” To top off the party, REEDS Jewelers gave her a Pandora bracelet featuring a dolphin and allowed her to shop to add a couple of other charms.
Sarah and her family departed for Key Largo just a few days later. Her first stop was to visit Theater of the Sea, a marine mammal park where she attended several shows featuring dolphins, sea lions and parrots. The wish experience also included a ride on a glass bottom boat and a trip to Key West to spend some time at the beach.
The “cherry on top of the sundae” according to Sarah’s mom was participating in dolphin training lessons during her last day of the wish. Through this hands-on-experience, Sarah fed the dolphins and communicated with them using hand signals. After lunch, she and her family jumped into the water and swam with the dolphins.
“As a family, we experience a lot of stress, never knowing day to day what is going to happen with her condition,” said Tara. “School is a struggle. To have one week where we didn’t worry about reading levels, doctor appointments or treatments made such a difference. It was a perfect piece of happiness.”
“I never in a million years imagined that it would have been that incredible. It was really awesome. It made her feel special. It was a stress-free week and it all started with her wish party at REEDS Jewelers. Every detail was planned, even down to the cupcakes that were coordinated to Sarah’s favorite colors.