With a second chance at life, one 18-year-old girl from Edmonton finally got to visit her sponsored “sister” in Ethiopia thanks to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 16, Isabel Schuppli went through several intense rounds of treatment and surgery before being declared cancer-free this year.
While she was still being treated, the Foundation heard of Schuppli’s journey to recovery and wanted to grant her one wish.
With the help of her mom, Schuppli decided that the only thing she wanted was to travel to Ethiopia and visit Kidist Meskele, a 17-year-old girl who has been sponsored by Schuppli’s family through Compassion Canada for five years.
These teen sisters from Edmonton are standing on Ethiopian soil, about to embark on the trip of a lifetime—thanks to a single wish. Isabel Schuppli (L), was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2015. That diagnosis led to surgery, radiation therapy and ongoing treatment. Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada heard about Isabel’s illness and asked her to share her ideas for a heartfelt wish—something that would bring her joy. Isabel’s wish? To visit her sponsored “sister” in Ethiopia, Kidist Meskele. Isabel and Kidist are both 18 this year. Their families have connected through letters and photos for almost five years. Isabel and her family, including her 16-year-old sister Vanessa (R), made the journey to Ethiopia last week. This picture is from Awasa Airport, just hours before the much-anticipated meeting. In the coming days, we’ll share more about Isabel’s journey. #IsabelsWish, #ethiopia, #edmonton, #yeg, #sponsorvisit, #tripofalifetime, #sponsorshipchangeslives, #wishes.
“Once the idea of going to visit Kidist came about, I thought that was the best wish,” Schuppli told CBC Edmonton.
Schuppli and Meskele had been in contact all those years by sending each other letters and photos, but never had the chance to meet in person.
After close to a year of planning, the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and Compassion Canada were finally able to make Schuppli’s wish a reality, according to CBC Edmonton.
A few days after receiving the news that she was cancer-free, Schuppli and her family arrived in Ethiopia to finally meet Meskele.
In an interview with 100 Huntley Street, Schuppli described their first encounter as being “very emotional.”
“It was crazy. There were so many kids everywhere and right in the centre was Kidist. It was so different. She looked just like her picture but so much not like her picture,” said Schuppli.
Despite the language barrier, Schuppli notes that both she and Meskele were very much alike and were able to click very easily, according to the Edmonton Journal.
“We couldn’t really communicate as seamlessly as you would be able to from someone who spoke your language, so it was difficult,” Schuppli told the Vernon Morning Star. “It was amazing to just be there and to kinda get to know her in other ways besides just talking. Just hanging out with her and (learning) her mannerisms and kind of understanding what she’s like was kind of interesting.”
When speaking to the Edmonton Sun, Schuppli said that “now, it’s going to be easier to ask more personal questions (in letters) since we know more about her.”
Curtis Allen, a videographer from Kelowna, B.C., went with the family to shoot a video of the trip, which can be seen below.
Jenna Rego, one of the coordinators for the Children’s Wish Foundation, told CBC Edmonton that Schuppli’s request pushed her into “uncharted territories” and that out of all the wishes the foundation grants, her wish was “very unique.”
In Meskele’s town, Schuppli and her family had the opportunity to visit the centres where she receives tutoring, recreation and healthcare, thanks to Compassion Canada.
“This trip made me see how important all these organizations are,” said Schuppli to the Edmonton Sun.
In case you’ve forgotten , there is still a lot of good in this world. Anyone who can and wants to, can easily sponsor a child of their own through Compassion Canada’s website.