Central Valley chapter of Make-A-Wish fulfills Clovis girl’s dream

Clovis High School football team pictured with Paisley. (Photo contributed through Central Valley Make-A-Wish Foundation)

Paisley is not a stranger to overcoming adversity.

In her infancy, Paisley was exposed to drugs and domestic violence by her biological mom. At eight months old, she was placed with her current adoptive family. When was two, she was rushed to Valley Children’s Hospital many times and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

But Paisley did it. 

The eight-year-old overcame surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy to beat cancer.

On Oct. 6, the Make-A-Wish – a non-profit organization that helps fulfill the wishes of children with a critical illness between the ages of 2½ and 18 years old – Central Valley chapter held a Toast to Hope Fundraiser for Paisley, whose dream was to visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida with her family and meet all of her favorite characters.

 The fundraisers took place at the residence of Jordan Christiensen, who serves on the Central Valley Make-A-Wish chapter. When he found out about Paisley’s story, he instantly knew he wanted to help make her wish come true.

Paisley was from Clovis, the town Christiensen grew up in. Paisley is six, around the same age as his children. Paisley’s cancer was similar to the one Christiensen’s mother-in-law passed away from.

“It was something that I think we felt connected to,” Christiansen said.

The price tag for Paisley’s trip to Florida was $10,000.

That night with about 100 people in attendance, $11,000 was fundraised.

“It was a special night,” Christensen said. “We got a lot of generous people that we’re surrounded with and to be able to raise that kind of money in a single night by just having some friends over and hosted an event was something that’s very special to us.”

It was truly a community effort. Some members of the Clovis High School football team, which Paisley is a very big fan of, made an appearance amid their season. When Christiensen presented Clovis coach Aaron Wilkins with the idea, it was a no-brainer.

“He said ‘Anything that I can do to support her and support cause we’re all up’” Christiensen explained. “They helped out with a multitude of things. They got their agenda going on, they played the next night. It says a lot about coach Wilkins and those players in the heart that those players have for you for helping the little girl achieve her wish.”

Paisley is just one of the many children whose dreams came true through Make-A-Wish. Kathleen Price, Regional Vice President Make-A-Wish Foundation in California and Northern Nevada, said the best way to see dreams come to fruition is to volunteer.

“Wishes create a difference in the medical recovery of children and 75 to 80% of our children will recover from their illness and go on to thrive and live a meaningful life,” Price said.

Jesús Cano spent five years covering high school sports in the Bay Area, which included bylines in the Mercury News, East Bay Times and Brentwood Press. Jesús transferred to Fresno State in 2020 to pursue his education in journalism and hopes one day be a beat reporter covering a professional sports team. He is originally from Pittsburg (No H), California, a suburb community in the Bay Area.