BSW Stories - Page 13

Making a Wish Come True As a blood center donor service recruiter, Veshell Willis doesn’t take “no” for an answer. She knows that a little education and a lot of awareness is all it takes to convince people to donate. “I have a gift for being able to talk to people,” Veshell explains. “And a lot of connections.” So when she found out that Luke Edmonds, a seriously ill 11-year-old, had a special Christmas wish, she was determined to fulfill it. Diagnosed with cancer and hospitalized at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center – Temple for more than three months, Luke wanted to see the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. The request was complicated. Luke could not be exposed to other movie-goers, and the theater manager was not allowed to show the film outside the theater. That didn’t stop Veshell. She arranged a private showing at the theater for Luke, contingent on his white blood cell count being high enough to leave the hospital. While staff and family knew about the plan, Luke was in the dark so as to not raise expectations, as he was due for another round of chemotherapy. Luckily though, when they checked his white blood cell count, it was sufficient to announce the surprise. “It was pretty amazing to watch the look on his face,” remembers Veshell, who was there and also arranged for concessions for Luke, his mom and a few friends. Luke later thanked her and others who arranged for the incredible outing, and within a few months, his treatments over, he was healthy and home. “We all have the ability to do something nice,” Veshell says humbly. “If more people would think less of themselves and more of others, life would be really good.” 11