At just 18 years old, wish kid Angelica is wise beyond her years. Instead of living in the darkness of her lupus diagnosis, she has learned to appreciate what she has and embrace what is to come.
Most high school seniors are knee deep in making a big decision – what college to go to – and Angelica was no different. But while applying for her top choice schools, she was also battling a condition most of her classmates had never even heard of – Lupus. The chronic autoimmune disease can damage any part of the body making it an extremely difficult condition to live with on a day to day basis. Although Angelica knew what type of challenges she might face by going away to college, away from her family, she decided to take a brave leap for her education and future.
After waiting weeks for her acceptance letters to arrive in the mail, she received an envelope addressed to her from none other than Concordia University in Portland, Oregon - her top choice school! It was settled – Angelica wished to visit her new College. And thanks to United Health Care who generously funded her wish, Angelica, her cousin and parents took off on a plane to Portland!
This college tour was not going to be like any other - Angelica was in for a BIG surprise. Concordia had set up a grand welcome for her with students cheering and signs waving. “Aloha Angelica” was the tagline of the day and it was the perfect way to make her feel accepted into her Concordia family. “I was so speechless and tear eyed, as well as surprised.” Angelica said.
She was also given a private tour around the campus. As she looked around, she saw red brick buildings, beautiful green trees and smiling faces – suddenly the intimidation of moving thousands of miles away from Hawaii turned into excitement. After making new friends, staying overnight at the dorms, attending a psychology and accounting class at her new school and adventuring into the city of Portland, Angelica began to truly feel at home.
"Visiting Concordia University-Portland has changed me into a new person to where my eyes have a clearer vision of life and its bigger picture. I have been going through my diagnosis of lupus as a darkness, and this blessing became my light and faded away my darkness.”
Angelica was given new hope. Her wish helped her to step outside of her struggle and see all the amazing possibilities in life. The experience made such an impact on her that she came up with a theme and a quote to describe this coming year. “Light your way through darkness. There’s always a light at the end of every tunnel. You just have to keep going and never give up, no matter how long the tunnel may be. You have to allow yourself to really believe and have faith that there is light at the end of your tunnel. Let your light find you and see what happens.”
Through her wish, Angelica found her light. She found the strength to be positive no matter how difficult things get. Now, she chooses to see the good in her challenges, embrace opportunities to be brave and find ways to inspire others.
We hope you have an amazing first year in college Angelica! We are confident that you will continue to be a shining light in the lives of those you touch.
Special Thanks: United Health Care, Concordia University - Portland, California Pizza Kitchen Pearl Ridge, Papa John's, Hokulani Bakery, Platinum Limo.