BOISE, Idaho — Make-A-Wish Idaho just announced its newest recipient, a 14-year-old girl living in Blackfoot.
Bethany was diagnosed with leukemia this past March. That life-threatening illness has not stopped the aspiring musician from playing multiple instruments. Bethany can play the piano, violin and ukulele, and composes music on her computer. She also sings in choir.
Although doctors were able to diagnose her early, Bethany will still have to undergo two years of treatment and chemotherapy. That's a lot, but Bethany isn't putting her goals on hold.
One of those goals is learning how to play the cello while going through treatment.
Bethany wished for one year's worth of lessons to give her something to focus on outside of getting better. She also wished for a professional-quality cello to play on.
On August 31, that wish was fulfilled by Make-A-Wish Idaho, through a nearly $5 million donation from Bristol Myers Squibb, which has made contributions to Make-A-Wish since 2017.
"A wish can be a turning point in the treatment and recovery of children with critical illnesses, and a much-needed source of hope and joy for their entire family," said Janie Best, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Idaho. "We are grateful for the relationship with Bristol Myers Squibb that understands the impact a diagnosis can have on families. Their support helps us continue to empower children to reclaim their childhood through the power of a wish."
Bethany has been resilient and easygoing through the course of her diagnosis.
"She is a bright spot in our days," said Shelley, Bethany's mother.
The school orchestra and Bethany's music teachers have also played a large role in her life, so receiving a cello with lessons has given Bethany something else to be motivated by. Her mom said the cello has given Bethany hope for a better future.
Make-A-Wish Idaho has granted more than 1,800 wishes to Idaho children since it was founded. To learn more about the program, visit the Make-A-Wish Idaho website.
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