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Gabriella's unforgettable cruise

Gabriella goes on a cruise

“ For a girl who has spent so much of her life in hospitals, the trip is a source of strength for challenges that still lie ahead. ”

A young honorary pirate helps her favorite pirate captain escape a band of angry buccaneers. “You’ll always remember this as the day you almost caught me,” Gabriella’s captain says as they leave pursuers in their wake. By the end of the elaborate stage show, Gabriella has lived an unforgettable adventure.

Gabriella’s appearance in the pirate show is just the beginning. Her entire Make-A-Wish® experience is a grand escape from her medical woes, which include a stroke and a heart transplant. Gabriella asked wish volunteers to send her, her brother and her parents on a voyage to soak in the sun and breathe the fresh ocean air.

Though the trip was postponed until doctors confirmed Gabriella was strong enough, she was bursting with excitement when finally cleared for her adventure at sea. She and her family swam in the ocean and took countless trips down the waterslides. The siblings made each day last as long as possible, staying up all night eating ice cream. Her 4-year-old brother PJ enjoyed feeding and kissing the dolphins the most, though.

For a girl who has spent so much of her life in hospitals, the trip is a source of strength for challenges that still lie ahead.

“They gave her something more interesting to talk about,” Gabriella’s mother, Kristi says about the Make-A-Wish volunteers. “Before, she’d talk about her heart condition. And now all she wants to talk about is her wish.”

These exuberant moments not only renew Gabriella and her family – they alter their outlook on life.

“We’re much more appreciative today. We appreciate our time together,” Gabriella’s mother, Kristi, says.

While continuing to stay optimistic , Gabriella and her family now dedicate their time to speak at wish events to encourage others to share the power of a wish® .

I love the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. I wish everyone knew how important their work is. What they do for the kids is a miracle. ”

— Gabriella's mom

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Sail away and keep your dreams afloat, Gabriella!

March 14, 2012 - 12:35 PM

Justus H.

This is AMAZING God is GOOD i also have heart problems i am in heart failure and have complete heart block and will have to have a pace maker for the rest of my life and at some point in time i may need a heart trans plant! thanks for this wonderful story! oh..and i also wanna go on a cruise i really hope my wish comes true!

November 03, 2013 - 6:39 PM

Kelly J.

My 8-year-old daughter also has a life threatening heart condition and she wished to go to Disney.. I can't thank Make-A-Wish enough for giving my daughter an experience we will cherish forever.

February 17, 2014 - 8:27 AM


This is my princess Gabriella! She received her life saving heart transplant and is doing amazing! Thank you, Make-A-Wish, for making her dreams come true!!!!

February 18, 2014 - 1:23 PM


Its so sad that you have to go through this and you deserved your amazing cruise!

May 16, 2014 - 6:11 PM

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