A Scottsdale teen with a brain infection had her wish to meet some penguins granted by international children’s charity Kids Wish Network and generous sponsors.
Two years ago, Kelsey Elmore underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. However, she began experiencing post-operative complications, including severe headaches and short-term memory loss. She was diagnosed with a granulomatous infection of the brain.
Kelsey underwent several more surgeries and has had five so far. She was also treated with a high dose of steroids, the only thing known to control the infection. This illness has almost killed Kelsey several times, but she is fighting it. She is receiving medication to deal with secondary illnesses that are attacking her immune system, which has been severely weakened by her treatments.
Kelsey was given the chance to wish through Kids Wish Network. Kelsey’s mother was told about the charity by a social worker at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
When a Kids Wish Network coordinator asked what she wanted to wish for, Kelsey asked if she could meet some penguins face-to-face.
“I love penguins,” Kelsey said. “And to get to pet them with my special nieces would be just the perfect thing.”
Once entrusted with her choice of wish, Kelsey’s wish coordinator did the rest, setting up a full itinerary for her wish trip, complete with transportation, accommodations, dinners, a trip to the San Diego Zoo, visits to the San Diego Art Museum and the San Diego Air and Space Museum, and a penguin encounter at Sea World.
“It was a lot packed into a short time, but we so enjoyed it,” Kelsey said. “I’m ready to do it again!”
During her wish, Kelsey viewed original paintings by Monet, saw a baby giraffe at the zoo, and was treated like a celebrity at the Embassy Suites San Diego Bay-Downtown and at all of the restaurants she visited. However, out of everything she got to experience, the penguin encounter at Sea World was her favorite.
“Sea World was, in a word, mind-blowing,” she said. “We had an amazing time and I loved getting to see the penguins. It was like nothing I could ever have dreamed up in my wildest dreams. Getting to actually touch a penguin was an amazing and unique experience that nothing will ever be able to compete with.”