A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery




During my amazing Make-A-Wish Presentation Party at Panera Bread in Santa Maria, one of my friends, Jenna, suggested I make daily videos on my month-long trip.


Jenna, I love your idea, so…





Hope Tour Day 1


As Mom and I approached our hotel destination on our first day of travel, we began passing signs that I have seen a gagillion times before on the 101. “Winchester Mystery House” Every time we drive by, there is never time to explore “the mystery!” This time, we realized we actually had time to stop, so we did. I had heard stories of how Mrs. Winchester continuously added on to her mansion. There are doors and stairways to nowhere that were built to confuse “spirits” that were haunting her. She believed it was caused from all of the people who died from Winchester rifles.

The highlight for me of the tour was not seeing the house (although it was quite mysterious,) but the highlight was meeting a boy named Steven in our tour group. Steven is an adorable boy who just had a heart transplant; he was wearing a surgical mask and a Make-A-Wish t-shirt! This was truly remarkable that we should end up in the same tour group—Steven with his Make-A-Wish shirt and Mom and I with our Make-A-Wish buttons!

My Wish Buddy Steven

Day one of the Hope Tour continued to be remarkable. After we arrived at our hotel, we began a search for dinner. After an exhaustive search of neighborhoods and viewing restaurant menus in San Carlos, we decided on a restaurant named Town. It was a very busy place, with no available tables for an hour… that is, unless, we wanted to sit at the bar and order food there. Next thing we knew, there we were, bellied up to the bar and ordering food. Mom got up from her seat and took a picture of me from the other side of the bar. The man next to her kindly offered to take a photo of both of us. She thanked him, and came back to our seat.

When the time came to pay our bill, the waiter told us, “The man across the bar paid for it.”

We were close to tears. This gesture of kindness touched both of us deeply. Before we left, we thanked him.  I learned something from this man; I will always be grateful for the lessons he taught me with his actions. His name is Tim Leary.

Ann Marie and JW House

Day Two of the Hope Tour brought more surprises. We went to JW House in San Jose. What an amazing place this is for families who have children at Kaiser Permanente! This incredible oasis for children and families who are going through horrible times was developed from the dream of a boy named JW. JW fought leukemia at four and passed at fourteen from a brain tumor. What an incredible person! We loved our time there with all of the volunteers, and we felt especially blessed to meet and talk with JW’s mom, Ann Marie.


After our time at JW House, we went to the pediatric floor at Kaiser and visited with Jennifer and Natalie, two of the pediatric oncology patients, and got a tour of the pediatric ward.

Hope Tour Day 2


JW… I look forward to meeting you— when the time comes– on the other side…

Comments on: "JW House– Hope Tour Day 2" (1)

  1. John Christian said:

    Its been a while, but I am always happy yo see something great you and your mom are up to.
    God Bless you two. Melinda you have grown so much into a ver pretty young lady over the three years I have known you.

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