When I first heard from Iris at Wish of a Lifetime, I knew I had to offer a partial donation and go out of my way to accommodate the photoshoot.
Wish of a Lifetime (WOL) goals are to connect seniors to their passion. A true Wish of a Lifetime achieved makes other goals seem possible, and encourages our Wish recipients to keep dreaming and pursuing their passions.
Iris told me that LaVernda had suffered a stroke and her dream was always to visit Grand Canyon. We emailed back and forth about the logistics of the trip. LaVernda would be coming to Grand Canyon by way of the Arizona Shuttle which is a really great way to get to Grand Canyon from pretty much anywhere in Arizona.
I text LaVernda’s daughter on the day of their arrival. Iris from WOL works our of Denver and the logistics that we put together looked great but when I text Sandra, Lavernda’s daughter, she told me that they wouldn’t be off the bus tour until later than expected.
I was already a little nervous about meeting the two of them at the Maswick lodge and walking to the rim for photos with only a short window before LaVernda and Sandra were set to depart on the Grand Canyon Railway. I quickly found out what bus tour they were on (the Grand Tour) and called the Xanterra transportation dispatch. I found out what few stops they might make and set off to find the duo.
I had very little time left to find them and take their photograph. I started with one of the first viewpoints they could be at as part of the tour, the Yavapai Geology Museum and Grandeur Point. They were no where to be found but I got excited with the hope of meeting them when a bus pulled up beside me. Lucky for me to be a Grand Canyon local as the driver was a familiar old friend and neighbor. She quickly told me a couple of other locations to check, but in the opposite direction on the Hermits Rest/Red Route. I took off.
I drove through Powell Point and Mojave Point and I was getting nervous. There was no tour bus to be found. My luck prevailed and I found the group at Hopi Point. LaVernda was in the bus and I found her daughter out enjoying the view. She was happy to see me and helped push LaVernda out for a few photos. She was tired and cold from the wind but she graciously obliged and we snapped a few photos before getting her back into the warm bus and on her way.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people want to visit Grand Canyon their whole lives. To have this dream shared with so many others and having an organization like Wish of a Lifetime support it, is really a forever gift. I am really honored to have played a role in it.