It was a rushed and hectic day on Tuesday, December 23, 1997, as my husband Richard and I were running around determined to grant the wish of a special little girl just in time for Christmas. Mariela Flores had been diagnosed with osteo-sarcoma (bone cancer) on July 3, 1997, and had been in, more than out of, Loma Linda Medical Center since her diagnosis. So when her mother, Juana, called to let me know that Mariela would be home on December 23rd through Christmas Day, Richard and I promptly set the wish wheels in motion.
Mariela, a sweet, shy, cute-as-a-button 7-year old, clung to her father as she bashfully watched Richard and me carry boxes into her room that Tuesday evening. Her eyes grew larger and larger as the boxes were opened and her computer and printer slowly emerged. As Richard set up the computer and printer and began to demonstrate the various games, Mariela slowly broke away from her father and made her way toward Richard and the computer. Within minutes, Mariela was clicking all over the screen as she explored the various software programs. Before long, Mariela had come out of her shy little shell and was a bundle of questions and excitement.
When we left Mariela's home that evening, she glowed with happiness. As for Richard and me, as always it was quite an emotional night.