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Lee Read Diamonds giving Make-A-Wish recipient her dream vacation

On July 13, Make-A-Wish will send the Modawell family to Oahu. The trip is funded by Jewelers for Children in partnership with Gabriel & Co.’s Love Foundation.
Credit: Martha Modawell
The Modawell family

BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.

Lee Read Diamonds is partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help make dreams come true for a local girl and her family.

Boise resident Sierra Modawell was just 3 years old when she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a chronic disease that affects the body’s mucus production and can cause severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body.

The diagnosis came shortly after her little sister Maddie was diagnosed with the same condition when she was 18 months old.

For the next several years, cystic fibrosis consumed much of Sierra Modawell’s life.

“Through middle school was the hardest years of it. Just because that’s when CFers really start to struggle,” Sierra, now 15, said. “When I was in middle school, I had to go to the hospital once a year just for checkups. And then … if I got sick, I got sick. And so I missed a lot of school. And a lot of my friends never really understood how bad my CF got.”

Sierra also had to take pills every time she ate and had to be careful with exercise because it could cause her to suffocate.

But because you can’t really see cystic fibrosis, not many people outside of her family gave it much thought. With that said, she had to think about it “every second of (her) life.” To Sierra Modawell, it seemed like all she knew was the medical world.

In the eighth grade, the Make-A-Wish foundation told Sierra Modawell they would grant her dream vacation — a trip to Australia with her family.

Then COVID hit. Travel, especially international travel, was out of the question.

“They just told me to wait really,” she said.

The wait was disappointing. The family had recently returned from Maddie’s wish trip to Walt Disney World in Florida and Sierra was so excited to go on her own. But in the midst of that time, a “miracle” happened, according to Sierra’s dad, Colt Modawell.

Sierra and Maddie got put on a new medication called Trikafta. The medication helped clear up the mucus in their bodies. Sierra Modawell gained weight. She took up sports. She began to have a life outside of cystic fibrosis. The medication, while it did cause drawbacks to the girls’ mental health, was “life changing.”

“For most of the CFers life growing up, they’re being told their life expectancy is 20 to 30 years old, maybe 40 if you’re lucky,” Colt Modawell said. “So it’s kind of hard to get excited about life aspirations like getting married, having children, they have such a low chance of having kids.”

Now with Trikafta, life expectancy for people with cystic fibrosis has shot up to their 50s and 60s. 

“It was a really big realization. And now I want a little baby girl when I’m older and all that stuff,” Sierra Modawell said.

She also has the goal of going to school to be a cosmetologist.

And, with COVID-related travel restrictions and precautions loosening up this year, Make-A-Wish was ready to grant Sierra Modawell’s wish. But there was a catch — international travel through the foundation was no longer something they could accommodate.

So Sierra chose what she imagined was the next best thing: a trip to Hawaii.

On July 13, Make-A-Wish will send the Modawell family to Oahu. The trip is funded by Jewelers for Children in partnership with Gabriel & Co.’s Love Foundation.

For Colt Modawell, Make-A-Wish’s impact on his family has been “everything.”

“Just the fact that Make-A-Wish has been able to graciously take donations and do this — it’s just given the kids that opportunity to experience something that we never would have been able to give them,” he said.

On Saturday, Lee Read Diamonds, who is serving as the guest ambassador for Gabriel & Co., hosted a send off party for the Modawell family.

“Make-a-Wish is something that we have been wanting to become a part of, especially because we are really outreaching into our community, to become involved and to learn more about our community,” Vice President of Marketing Marisa Stewart said. “That is something that we really wanted to take on and turn into something beautiful.”

The tropical-themed party featured cake, free tacos from a local food truck and a Polaroid scavenger hunt for Sierra.

Lee Read Diamonds is located at 650 E Sonata Lane in Meridian.

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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