Kristen Cruises into Comfort with Kids Wish Network

OAKDALE, Penn. – A teenager battling a life-threatening illness enjoys the trip of a lifetime with a cruise from Kids Wish Network.

Eighteen-year-old Kristen is quite the sharp shooter! Active and athletic, Kristen excels at shooting archery and has even joined the archery team at Penn State University. Being such a straight arrow, it’s only fitting that Kristen’s favorite subject is law enforcement and that her favorite show is “Law and Order.”

In September of 2007, Kristen was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue that primarily affects teens and children. Kristen is a fighter and has undergone extensive chemotherapy to combat the disease. Though she suffers from fatigue and the pain of her swollen lymph nodes, none of these hardships have been enough to keep the beautiful smile off of Kristen’s face.

When a social worker at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh referred Kristen to children’s charity, Kids Wish Network, Kristen was asked to pick her number one wish. Kristen responded that she wanted to go on a cruise where she can enjoy warm weather and soft, white-sand beaches. With that in mind, Wish Coordinator, Vanessa, and Wish Funding Specialist, Doris, set out to make Kristen’s wish come true; with the help of some fantastic sponsors, Vanessa organized a cruise to the Bahamas for Kristen and her family to “escape to,” including a shore excursion to the famous Atlantis resort!

Kristen and her family were thrilled to get away from it all, even if only for four days. Those four days, were spectacularly fun-filled and brought plenty of wonderful memories at every turn. Not only were all the amenities and gratuities paid for, but so was the shore excursion to the island paradise in Atlantis!

On the boat, Kristen and her family enjoyed watching the Las Vegas style shows and savoring the fantastic foods laid out for them like they were members of royalty. According to Kristen, she didn’t want to miss a single thing! Everything was perfect! In Atlantis, Kristen was greeted with more things to do than she could fathom: there were the beautiful waterscapes to explore, the “archeological ruins” to discover and so much more. The water park there was “really cool,” said Kristen. “Vanessa [her wish coordinator] did a very good job…I just want to thank Kids Wish Network and the cruise line for sending me and my family on the cruise. We had a really great time!”

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Kristen’s wish extra special: American Legion Post 86, American Legion Nix-Vogel Post #935, Fraternal Order of Eagles #1365, Sam’s Club, VFW Post 6553, Wal-Mart and Carnival Cruise Lines.

Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at

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48,632 kids helped this last fiscal year through our many programs and services.

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Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs.