Florida teens wish to go to Paris made reality thanks to Make-A-Wish

Posted at 9:49 PM, Apr 06, 2018

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — A Florida teen who had been battling cancer got her wish granted to go to Paris!

Make-A-Wish Southern Florida gave Briana Martinez and her family a week's stay in France.

"It was amazing. I loved every part of it. I loved the airplane. I loved Paris. I loved it all," said Briana Martinez.

The family explored plazas and parks and also saw the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower.

"Everything over there is just beautiful. It's almost like a movie, almost like a movie," said Keila Rasorio, Briana's mother.

The 7th grader has been battling cancerous tumors since 2012. She was diagnosed with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma (AFH) after doctors discovered a tumor under her arm.

Visits to John Hopkins All Children's Medical Hospital in St. Petersburg became routine.

"As of right now, she's cancer-free, but she has to go every 4 months to get checked," said Rasorio.

Her mother said if the cancer returns, doctors may have to amputate her daughter's arm.

"The way that she suffered and seeing how happy she was when she went to Paris because of Make-A-Wish, it's extraordinary," said Rasorio.

The average cost of a wish in Tampa Bay is about $8,000. Donations make it happen.

Make-A-Wish America recently received a $1.26 million dollar donation from Bristol-Myers Squibb, a pharmaceutical company. A portion of those donations went to granting wishes in the Tampa Bay area.

"Our goal is to reach every eligible child's wish and we're currently not doing that, we're currently reaching about 80% of children that have qualifying illnesses so we want to make sure every eligible child gets their wish," said Lisa Andrews, Regional Director Make-A-Wish Southern Florida for the Tampa Bay region.

Briana said the trip was amazing.

"I want to say thank you so much for what they have done. I still can't believe that they took me. I'm so grateful that they thought about me and chose me to go to Paris," said Martinez. 

"The wishes we grant aren't just nice, they're necessary. The power of a dream fulfilled is often the pivot point in a family's battle against illness, the place where people whose lives have been turned upside-down use the magic we deliver to regain control," said Norman Wedderburn, president and CEO, Make-A-Wish Southern Florida.