IRC and Make-A-Wish Foundation Help Grant a Refugee Teenager’s Last Dream
Sixteen-year-old Paw Say, her parents, and three younger siblings arrived in the U.S. in 2012 as refugees from Burma (also known as Myanmar). After she arrived, she was diagnosed with a terminal illness and a year later, she was placed into hospice care. To celebrate her courage and determination, Paw Say’s family, with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the IRC, were able to give her an exciting and wonderful gift.
The IRC and Scottish Rite Pediatric Hospital came together and referred Paw Say to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant one of her last dreams. Make-A-Wish took the family in a limo to explore the city of Atlanta, arriving at the American Girl doll store, one of Paw Say’s favorites. She immediately knew which doll she wanted, and after she dressed it, Paw Say enjoyed lunch with her new doll and family. The family finished their tour at The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, giving Paw Say and her siblings a chance to learn while using their imaginations.
Photo: Nu Pi
Paw Say and her family have come a long way and shown so much resilience through this experience. Paw Say’s father takes care of her and her siblings while her mother works at Fieldale Farms, and the family has now saved up enough money to purchase their own car.
For nearly a year, the family has also been sponsored by a group called Six Star, a network of local churches that sponsor refugee family who are primarily from the IRC. They have been a huge financial and emotional support system for Paw Say and her family, and many of the Six Star members directly support the IRC. A Six Star volunteer, Mary also accompanied the family for the Make-A-Wish trip.
The IRC in Atlanta would like to thank the participants of Six Star, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Scottish Rite Pediatric Hospital for creating such a meaningful experience for Paw Say. Most importantly, the IRC applauds Paw Say and her family for their bravery during this difficult time and will continue to offer its support as Paw Say receives medical services at home while spending time with her family.