Raymond is a talkative and outgoing 15-year-old from Carpentersville, Illinois, who loves the color white and studying math in school. He’s also an athlete who plays soccer and listens to rap music, especially T.I. Like any teenager, he spends a lot of his time with friends hanging out, shopping, watching TV and eating Taco Bell.
But unlike most teenagers, Raymond was diagnosed with a brain tumor in June 2008. He’s undergone surgery and is in stable condition, but he continues to struggle with memory loss and physical activity. The unwavering support of his family and friends keeps Raymond positive and looking toward the future.
When asked to wish BIG, Raymond asked to have his grandmother visit him from Mexico. Thanks to the work of Make-A-Wish, Raymond’s grandma was granted a visa and a round-trip ticket to Chicago. A limousine picked up Raymond and his family on wish day to take them to the airport to meet grandma. Raymond was so excited that he couldn’t stop smiling all day. The second he saw her, he rushed to her with his arms open wide and gave her the biggest hug ever! He always said that his grandmother is a “second mother,” so her arriving two days before Mother’s Day was the best wish he could have asked for.
Even though she isn’t quite 8 years old, Shelby can beat anyone in a game of Monopoly. The budding real estate mogul also has an artistic side, which is why she loves art class and painting and drawing with her favorite color, purple. In her downtime, Shelby likes to watch Dora the Explorer, and she hopes to someday travel the world just like her favorite voyager.
That dream met some adversity in December 2008 when Shelby was diagnosed with Rapid-onset Obesity with Hypothalamic dysfunction, Hypoventilation and Autonomic Dysregulation (ROHHAD) syndrome. This very rare disease, which damages the body’s mechanics that foster proper breathing, affects about only 35 people worldwide. But Shelby is undeterred by her ROHHAD syndrome, as she continues to take her medications and live each day to the fullest.
Shelby’s big wish was to go to Florida, where she and her family checked into the Nickelodeon Family Suites in Orlando. She could barely wait to unload her bags and jump in the amazing pools (complete with waterslides), visit a kids’ spa, play mini golf and play games at the arcade.
One of Shelby’s favorite attractions was the Discovery Cove, a tropical hideaway where she relaxed in the serenity pool and swam with the dolphins! She loved seeing the animals up close at the Animal Kingdom and enjoyed “visiting” several countries at Epcot Center (just like Dora does)!