Naturally, his family’s anticipation for paradise was clear to anyone onboard their JetBlue wish flight. But crewmember Joanne DeLessio, who strives to build rapport with all her customers, was especially drawn to Jimmy and his family. As soon as they told her he was a wish kid, she said she was “floored with excitement.” Jimmy was the first wish kid Joanne had met in flight.
During the flight, Jimmy offered Joanne a glimpse into a photo journal that documented his cancer journey. Joanne paged through the journal, embracing the deep significance of this flight for Jimmy and his family.
“The photos didn’t only tell the story of Jimmy’s battle,” Joanne said. “It was his whole family’s battle. He had surgery on Thanksgiving, and I saw photos of his whole family surrounding him, rallying around him over the holidays, during what is such an emotional time of year already.
“This family had a reason to celebrate.”
Jimmy was able to travel for his wish trip via JetBlue, thanks to generous ticket and airline mile donations. Nationally, Make-A-Wish would need more than 2.8 billion miles, or 50,000 round-trip tickets, to cover every travel wish every year. You can help a wish kid like Jimmy go to an exotic place, far away from hospital visits and medical procedures, by donating your TrueBlue points and airline miles today.
Crewmember ‘Rolls Out Red Carpet’ for Wish Families
Since Jimmy’s flight to Turks and Caicos, Joanne has met at least three more wish kids on her flights. “Traveling is a direct contrast to what these kids have experienced,” Joanne said. “This is not something they’ve experienced day-to-day.”
These unique circumstances inspire Joanne to “roll out the red carpet” for wish families. “Wish kids strike me with their passion,” Joanne said. “It’s in me to pour into them.”
In Jimmy’s case, she rallied other passengers on his flight to applaud him, and she recruited his return flight’s crewmembers to give him an especially warm welcome when he would head back home. She even surprised Jimmy at his home airport with other JetBlue employees and “Welcome Home” posters.
“Joanne made a huge difference in my life and put a huge smile on my face,” Jimmy said.
A Connection is Made
Corporate sponsors such as JetBlue are essential in helping Make-A-Wish accomplish its mission to grant the wish of every eligible child. Joanne said she is so grateful for JetBlue’s partnership with Make-A-Wish, because it allows her to cross paths with inspirational wish kids of all ages and backgrounds. “In a way, I get to see these kids on a good day,” Joanne said. “I've been able to help usher these kids into these experiences.” Become a Make-A-Wish sponsor today
Joanne has been so moved by her wish flights, in fact, that she sees volunteering for Make-A-Wish in her future.
Today, Jimmy and Joanne keep in touch and visit each other regularly. Jimmy even sent a T-shirt to Joanne that displays his personal mantra:
“Nobody fights alone.”
Jimmy's wish was granted by Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley.
November is JetBlue for Good month. Through Nov. 30, JetBlue is celebrating its commitment to kindness and good deeds by sharing stories from their crewmembers and community partners who make a difference in their communities. Visit www.jetblueforgood.com or follow #jetblueforgood.
Did you know that roughly 75 percent of wish experiences involve travel? Every airline mile donated helps wish kids and their families travel to destinations around the world and experience the life-changing power of a wish. Once donated, your miles never expire and support wishes across the country. I'm ready to make a difference by donating miles!
Do you have a Make-A-Wish story? We’d love to hear your it! Email Cindy Goldberg, editorial manager at Make-A-Wish America, describing how being part of a wish transformed your life in 350 words or less. Your story could be featured on Wish Nation!