CAMARILLO (CBSLA) — A little girl who has been struggling with a serious illness since she was a toddler finally got to ask Make-A-Wish for something once got a little better, but what she asked for was for someone else.
Rather than asking for something for herself after her rare form of leukemia went into remission, Zelaya Guevara asked Make-A-Wish to help the kids and families affected by Hurricane Maria, which pummeled the island of Puerto Rico in 2017.
“I wish for you to spend the money to help the kids and their families in Puerto Rico,” Zelaya wrote to the organization. “Please help them. Please send them clean water, stuff babies and kids need to stay healthy. That would be my Wish come true.”
And it did.
This week, the last of the 1,500 toys collected for her campaign were being packed up to send to the island. Make-A-Wish also teamed up with chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen provide families with meals.
The items will include a special note from Zelaya reading, “Keep your head held high. You are the flowers in the storm and you are never alone,” in English and Spanish. They’re lyrics from a song by Caly Bevier, herself a young cancer survivor.
“It was absolutely heartwarming,” said Melissa Romatti with Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties. “For her to want to give to others and to other kids and to other families was absolutely so touching.”
Zelaya has been battling her leukemia since she was two years old.
“She’s been in a hospital room staring out of a window for years, wondering if she’d ever be able to be on the other side,” Zelaya’s mother Charlie Curtis-Guevara told CBS2 News. “Now that she is, her choice was to help other people, and it’s amazing.”
The items will be handed out in a rural area outside San Juan on Saturday, which will mark the one year anniversary of Hurricane Maria hitting the island.
Below is Zelaya’s full letter to Make-A-Wish:
Dear Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties,
My name is Zelaya and I am 7 yrs old. I haven’t been able to go on my Wish yet because my cancer kept coming back. My chemo made it not safe for me to be in places with lots of people. I am doing better after my transplant but it’s going to be awhile before I can do anything. I would like to use my Wish now if it is okay. This is what I wish for.
I wish for you to spend the money to help the kids and their families in Puerto Rico. Please help them. Please send them clean water, stuff babies and kids need to stay healthy. That would be my Wish come true.
Thank you so much.
People can still donate to Zelaya’s campaign at the Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties website.