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Make-A-Wish Foundation Grants Cancer Survivor’s Wish with Tour of Hope

Melinda Marchiano and her mom are spending the month visiting Children's Hospitals on the West Coast

Eighteen-year-old Melinda Marchiano of Nipomo has been granted her heartfelt wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

When she was 13, Marchiano was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. When she was 14 and still recovering from cancer treatments, she began writing her story in spiral notebooks.

Marchiano’s finished work, Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery, was published by Happy Quail on Oct. 1, 2010.

Marchiano thought long and hard about her wish and finally decided that she would like to tour Children’s Hospitals on the West Coast to speak with kids, doctors and social workers, to bring hope and awareness for childhood cancers, to hear the stories of the children, and to share her own experience. Marchiano and her mom have embarked on a monthlong tour, where they will be escorted through each facility to speak with pediatric doctors, nurses, child life specialists, social workers and, most importantly, children with cancer.

Marchiano’s wish was adopted by the women of Chi Omega. a national supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The local women of Chi Omega raised funds for several wishes this year through their Chi O Casino Night at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

After a send-off party at Panera Bread in Santa Maria, Melinda’s Wish Tour of Hope began Monday at Oakland Children’s Hospital and the Kaiser Cancer Support Group. On Tuesday, she visited Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto.

Click here to read Marchiano’s blogs about her trip.

Other stops will include Salt Lake City, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore.; Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle; St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise, Idaho; the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.; and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. With a staff of only four and the help of more than 130 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties has granted more than 1,100 special wishes to children in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Click here to refer a child or make a donation.

— Shanna Wasson Taylor represents the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties.

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