Make-A-Wish delivers puppy to St. George teen in remission

One St. George teenager learned that wishes do come true Tuesday when she received the gift of love in the form of a fluffy, wriggly puppy.

Sophia Duran, 17, was the guest of honor at a surprise wish party hosted by Make-A-Wish Utah where she met her new best friend and heart’s desire, Oliver, a miniature Australian shepherd pup.

“It’s so exciting,” she said.

The demure teen was diagnosed 18 months ago with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare cancer that affects mostly children and teenagers. After 10 months of treatment, including 14 rounds of chemotherapy and 28 days of radiation, her cancer is in remission.

Make-A-Wish is a national non-profit foundation dedicated to granting wishes to children with life-threatening conditions.

Make-a-Wish surprises a St. George teen with a puppy St. George Spectrum & Daily News

According to Sophia’s mom, Heather McGarvie, her daughter has wanted a puppy of her own since she was a little girl. Wish granters, Troy Rivera and Celeste Sorensen worked with Make-A-Wish and her family to make that happen. Wish Manager Hilarie Timmerman drove to Idaho to pick up Oliver and chauffeur him to the party.

“They are such amazing people and I’m so glad that I got the chance to meet them and got my wish granted,” Sophia said.

Oliver was granted a few wishes of his own Doggie beds, bowls and toys along with a year of veterinary care are part of package.

“It’s such a joy working with all these kids. We’re just trying to give them a little bit of hope in a tough time. The look on her face is reason enough for me,” said Timmerman who oversees the foundation’s efforts in the state.

“We’re granting a wish almost every other day here in Utah, but every day is a big day at Make-a-Wish,” she said. “All the wishes are really fantastic.”

She said that more than 200 wishes are currently waiting in the “wish pipeline” and more wish granters are needed to make those dreams come true. Granters serve as a liaison between the foundation and the family, coordinating the wish-granting process. The position pays an unlimited amount of joy, happiness and satisfaction.

“It takes a lot of people to make a wish happen,” Timmerman said.

McGarvie is grateful to Make-A-Wish for the team effort that went into granting her daughter’s request.

“They went above and beyond (what) I could ever imagine that they would do for a child,” she said. “It is truly a very noble foundation and I just thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

For more information about the foundation visit Make-A-Wish Utah.

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