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While COVID-19 has altered the way Make-A-Wish Southern Florida fulfills its mission to grant life-changing wishes for critically-ill children, Hollywood resident Gabriel Pagan is proof the wish experience hasn’t lost its magic.

The 10-year-old, who struggles with cystic fibrosis (CF), recently enjoyed being a VIP at the shopping spree of his dreams. Given his health situation and the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, Make-A-Wish (www.sfla.wish.org) made arrangements for Gabriel to have a private experience at the Best Buy store in Pembroke Pines.

Hollywood Child with Cystic Fibrosis Enjoys Private Shopping Spree from Make-A-Wish
Hollywood Child with Cystic Fibrosis Enjoys Private Shopping Spree from Make-A-Wish

The youngster and his family had complete access to the store before it opened to the public and were greeted by signs, balloons, and members of the “Geek Squad,” with the electronics experts then providing advice on all the items Gabriel was interested in. That included a 55” TV, video gaming systems, and all the accessories gamers want. Best Buy also provided its own gift package of items to commemorate the special occasion.

“Pandemic or not, we’re committed to granting wishes for every medically-eligible child in
our territory,” said Richard Kelly, chief operating officer of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida.

“It’s what we’ve done to bring hope, strength, and joy to kids and families impacted by serious illnesses for nearly 40 years in South Florida.”

Make-A-Wish Southern Florida has granted more than 12,000 life-changing wishes during that time for children who have critical illnesses, with the nonprofit understanding wishes aren’t just nice, they’re necessary for those that receive them during some of the most difficult times in their lives.

Wish kids most often ‘wish to be’ (something), ‘wish to meet’ (someone), ‘wish to go’ (somewhere), ‘wish to have’ (something), or ‘wish to give’ (to a cause) and the organization makes this happen for the child and his/her entire family at no cost or obligation.

The Southern Florida chapter’s territory includes 22 counties/four regions in southeast and southwest Florida, on the Suncoast, and around Tampa Bay. It also includes the U.S. Virgin Islands. Follow and engage with Make-A-Wish Southern Florida on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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