Sami’s “California Dreaming” Becomes a Reality

ROEBUCK, S.C. – A young lady with a life-threatening illness has the wish of her life with Kids Wish Network.

For years, Sami had dreamed of visiting the fantasy land that is Laguna Beach, California. When her family saw an article in their local paper about a wish being granted by Kids Wish Network, she had no idea that they would be the ones who could make her dream come true as well.

That one little article sparked a call to the children’s charity by Sami’s parents. It was then that they told the people at Kids Wish Network about their brave daughter and her struggles.

You see, in 2002, Sami was diagnosed with a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is a group of inherited disorders that weaken connective tissues. These tissues protect the skin, bones, blood vessels and other organs. Sami has had numerous surgeries to stabilize her skull and spine and to alleviate other symptoms. In addition, she has multiple organ dysfunctions and must be monitored carefully.

It was Wish Coordinator, Jen, who was told about Sami’s dream of visiting California. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist, Donna, and the help of some outstanding sponsors, Jen set out to make sure that the young lady had more than she could have ever wished for. When it came time for Sami and her family to hop on a plane to Laguna Beach, Jen arranged accommodations at the luxurious Montage Laguna Beach, dinners at The Beach House and K’ya Bistro, an ocean adventure from Dana Wharf and even a private photo shoot with a professional photographer and make-up artist!

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” said Sami. “Jen did an AMAZING job. It was a lot more then I could’ve expected.” She enjoyed a true California experience and had a blast every second. “I’ve always wanted to go to California,” she said. “Everything was amazing. I can’t just pick one thing that was my favorite…I loved it all!”

The room at the Montage Laguna Beach was beyond compare. There were hundreds of dolphins swimming to greet her on her ocean adventure cruise at the wharf and every sunset looked as though it were painstakingly painted just for her. “It was all so beautiful out there,” she said. Sami was in a dream world.

“The photo shoot was definitely an experience,” said Sami. “The photographer did an amazing job…he took hundreds of pictures. The make-up artist was great. She gave me plenty of tips, too!” Sami was even more amazed when she found out that this artist had also done make-up for Tom Hanks on one of his many movies!

Now that she’s back in South Carolina, Sami finds that California is still on her mind. “I’m glad to be back home, but we have a lot of great memories to remember it by…I really want to go back some day.” Though her dreaming isn’t over, Sami has plenty to help her dreams along now, thanks to Kids Wish Network.

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Sami’s wish extra special: Wal-Mart #2214, Montage Laguna Beach, Bisson Photography, Dana Wharf Sport Fishing, The Beach House and K’ya Bistro.

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
Written by: Editorial Staff

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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.