Melissa McKenney Sabotta
Melissa, pictured here with her family, had her wish granted in 1999. Now she volunteers with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois to bring hope, stength and joy to a new generation of wish children.
"The opportunity to have a wish, to do something so out of the ordinary, was like a power source for me," Missy says remembering that time.
Her experience turned out to be such an important turning point in her life; as soon as she was able she sought out ways to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois so that other children could have a similar opportunity.
Missy wished to tell her personal story in a national magazine in the hopes that it would encourage others battling serious illness. The wish took some time, but in 1999 Mademoiselle Magazine invited her to travel to New York City to present her story and receive a wish come true. The magazine also had a few surprises in store. Mademoiselle treated Missy to a makeover and photo shoot. Her story and photos ran in the October 1999 issue of the magazine.
"I loved it! I was treated like royalty and was someone famous for a day," Missy says of her experience. "It was the wish of a lifetime after going through everything and finishing my treatment."
Missy became a volunteer spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois through its speaker's bureau. Her college studies in broadcasting and production have come in handy as she speaks on air during radio interviews. Missy also speaks to various community groups and newspapers to spread the word about the mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
"It is so fulfilling to meet wish children who want to continue to inspire others battling serious illness by telling their own wish stories. Missy shares how the wish impacted her life in a positive and joyous way and continues to do so into adulthood," said, Janet Bantz Glavin, Community Relations Manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois.Missy and her husband Drew live with their 5 ½-year-old son, Beau and newborn baby Bryer in LaSalle County.
More than 1,400 volunteers and 41 staff members work to grant the wishes of Illinois children