06/19/08 — A wish made, a wish granted

View Archive

A wish made, a wish granted

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on June 19, 2008 1:47 PM

When the stretch limousine pulled up in front of her house, Shalana Hailey knew all of a sudden that it was not going to be just another Sunday afternoon.

Shalana, 15, suffers from chronic kidney disease and has spent most of the last six months in the hospital, so just being at home with her family was a treat in itself.

But little did she know that she was about to go on the shopping spree of her life -- courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children suffering from life-threatening disease.

The limousine took her and her mother, Sharon King, first to Wal-Mart, where she was greeted with roses by the staff and then to Target, where staff members met her with balloons, gifts and posed for photos.

At Wal-Mart, Shalana picked out a computer and accessories. At Target, clothes and accessories, along with items for her room, were on the agenda.

She picked out three pocketbooks -- one for everyday, one for "dressing up," and another for church.

It was her day. Shoppers stopped and applauded when her name was announced over the loudspeaker.

"She's so excited," her mother said, as she followed along with the entourage. The Make-A-Wish volunteers who accompanied her, Sandy Green and Dawn Wilcox, seemed to have as much, or more, fun than Shalana did.

"It feels wonderful," Shalana said, when asked about the chance to pick and choose what she wanted. "It's my dream come true."

Shalana suffers from chronic kidney failure. Her mother said that when she gains enough strength for an operation, she plans to donate one of her kidneys to her daughter.

"She's an angel. She's God-sent," her mother said softly as she watched Shalana and the volunteers discussed clothing choices.

From the clothing department, Shalana moved to the furnishings department, where she chose a new lamp for her room and a bed covering. Hannah Montana was the dominant theme, it seemed.

But that's not to say she is Shalana's favorite singer. Her first wish had been to meet singer Chris Brown. When that didn't materialize, the shopping spree was the second choice.

Shalana's mother said she hopes her daughter will be able to stay at home longer this time and get to spend more time with her family, especially her four sisters. The last few months have been extremely hard on the family, she said.

But Shalana has borne it all with bravery, her mother said. And her spirit is untouched by her physical infirmities. She is a whiz at computer games, her mother said, and she is so good at board games that no one in the family will play her anymore, she said. She's too good.

"She'll eat you alive in 'Sorry!'," her mother said.