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Teen fighting cancer receives very purple wish
Make a wish pic1
Megan Gonzalez (right) lounges in her newly decorated room with her friends Kylie Filer (left) and Caitlin Douglass (center). Megan received a full room makeover from Make-A-Wish Foundation. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN/ The Journal

A local teen had her wish come true this past weekend when Make-A-Wish Foundation gave her a full bedroom makeover. Megan Gonzalez, a 14 year old from Waterford, is sleeping in style now in her very purple bedroom, thanks to Make-A-Wish volunteers and hard work from her parents.

Jill and Chuck Gonzalez, Megan’s parents, did most of the work on the room themselves. The furniture and other items were all done by Make-A-Wish, but the Gonzalez family chose to do the actual decorating.

“Usually, we have a team come in and do the work, and then we have a big reveal. But the family decided to do it a little differently,” said Peggy Clifton, a wish volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Sacramento and Northern California.

Clifton said that Make-A-Wish works with children from ages 2 to 18, and the type of wish each child makes varies with the age group. She said a lot of younger kids want to go to Disneyland or be something for a day, a princess or firefighter for example. Teens are more likely to wish to meet a celebrity or have a makeover.

“A bedroom makeover is not an unusual wish, but not a very frequent wish,” Clifton said.

Megan is eligible for Make-A-Wish because she is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL.) She was diagnosed in June 2009 with ALL, a cancer of the white blood cells.  She has since spent 70 nights in the hospital and has endured 23 spinal taps. During her 13 months of heavy chemotherapy she sometimes had to travel to Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera up to six times a week. She spent so much time in the hospital that she had to be home schooled and miss seventh grade with her friends.

“Having this new bedroom is such a gift after all she’s gone through,” said Jill Gonzalez.

Megan is now in the maintenance phase of chemotherapy, and she is back in school. Her birthday was on Sunday, and she had friends and family over on Saturday to reveal her new room. She said that although she could have wished for anything, a new room was her first choice.

“(My old room) felt too childish for me and I wanted a more grown up room,” Megan said.

Megan’s friends admitted that they were a little jealous that her new room sports a pink mini fridge and a large flat-screen TV. But they did like the purple color scheme and the new vanity wardrobe.

“It fits her,” said Kylie Filer.

“The bedroom screams ‘Megan’” added Caitlin Douglass.

Megan picked out her own furniture and most of the decorations for the room.

“She did spend a lot of time in the hospital and in bed. It gave her a lot of time to go shopping on the Internet,” Jill said.

Megan’s combined birthday party and Make-A-Wish reveal celebration was a big contrast from the last year and a half. During heavy chemo she had a lowered immune system and had to be very careful about contact with other people, which could make her sick. Throughout her hospital stay, however, she received text messages and other support from the CSU Stanislaus women’s soccer team. They adopted Megan as their “little sister,” and were supportive of her throughout her treatments. Megan’s soccer sisters were at the reveal party to celebrate with their little sis.

Everyone seemed to like the room, especially the birthday girl. Megan said that she was very happy with the way her room came out, and she was grateful to Make-A-Wish.

“I’m just really happy about all of this,” Megan said.

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.