“When the doctors were unsure if I was going to make it, so I was granted my wish to visit Paris. Now, I have a new wish.”
Emily Lopez was just about to start high school and was looking forward to beginning an exciting new chapter of her life. However, when she was 13 years old, Emily and her parents received shocking news; Emily had Cystic Fibrosis. The first few months were full of doctors’ visits, an intense antibiotic regimen, and two-hour daily breathing treatments.
From that point forward, Emily was in and out of hospitals. It was difficult for her to maintain her academic performance throughout high school but she was determined to finish on time. Emily was strong-willed and four years later, her family and friends celebrated her achievement as a high school graduate.
However, Emily was not done pursuing new goals. She dreamt of achieving a college degree and would not allow Cystic Fibrosis (CF) to stand in her way. Emily enrolled in college immediately after high school and dove headfirst into her studies.
Rough Road Ahead
Everything seemed to move smoothly until one day, during her freshman year, she noticed that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to breathe. At the hospital, the doctors determined that her lungs were functioning at 30 percent normal levels. For more than six months, her breathing capacity remained poor, so Emily’s doctors placed her on the national lung transplant waiting list.
Emily was admitted to the hospital. After two weeks, she seemed to be getting better and was able to go home; however, three weeks later, she was back at the hospital.
“I had to withdraw from my college classes and lost all of the work I had put in for the semester.” – Emily Lopez
Soon after, the hospital contacted The Make-A-Wish Foundation and they decided it was time to grant Emily a wish.
When her health improved enough for travel, Emily and her family flew to Paris, France to enjoy what everyone suspected might be Emily’s last family trip.
Emily’s doctors worked hard to battle the lung infections and by December of that year, she received the best news of all – her lung capacity had reached 90 percent and there was no need for a lung transplant!
Emily spent a year resting to get back to full strength, and in the summer of 2016, she enrolled at Phoenix College (PC). Her new wish is to graduate from PC with a degree in communications and transfer to a university to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Emily hopes to one day become a communication director for a non-profit foundation, maybe even The Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Emily continues to battle Cystic Fibrosis every day. Her morning routine consists of spending two hours taking breathing treatments. It is only then that she can get ready for the day’s classes.
Since enrolling at PC, the road has not always been easy and, in order to focus on her health, Emily needed to take a few breaks along the way.
Becoming a Bear Scholar
In 2017, Emily received the Phoenix College Alumni Association Bear Scholarship. As a Bear Scholar, Emily receives funding to pay tuition and fees, and is matched with an alumni mentor. Emily’s mentor is Marty Manning, recently retired KEZ iHeart radio personality. Marty has been able to share his love for media communications with Emily and has introduced her to important local communication partners in the Valley.
Emily is excited to be graduating from PC in December 2019 but she is not doing it alone. Thanks to generous supporters, Emily has been able to focus on her studies without the added burden of worrying how she will fund her education.
However, Emily is not the only student at Phoenix College that deserves support. To help other students achieve their dreams, please consider making a tax-deductible gift online.