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Daeja was beaming while she was balancing with Dominiques Dawes

Daeja hugs Dominique Dawes

“ Balancing while you're beaming ”

  • Daeja , 12

    • Bone Marrow Disorder
    • To meet Olympic Champion, Dominique Dawes
  • Wish to meet

Daeja has always had a love for gymnastics. When asked if she could meet anyone in the world, Daeja said she wanted to meet Dominique Dawes because she is her hero. She is her hero because she was the first African American gymnast to win an Olympic Gold Medal.

  • Daeja receives a special gift from Dominique

  • Ready to work out

  • Two athletes stretch before a workout

  • Dominique helps Daeja practice her handstand

  • Dominique and Daeja on the beam

  • Daeja sees an Olympic Gold Medal for the first time

  • Daeja got to wear Dominique's gold medal

  • One gold medalist give a future gold medalist a hug

Ever since she was little, Daeja has always had a love for gymnastics.  This sport helped her learn what true strength is and how it helps everyone in tough times.

Daeja was diagnosed with MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome) which is a bone marrow disorder, on March 10, 2011. As a result of this medical condition, she had to endure a bone marrow transplant. Even though this was one of the toughest moments in her life, she always looked up to her hero to keep her spirits up and help her carry on. Her hero is Olympic Gold Medalist, Dominique Dawes. 

Daeja was all smiles on the day her wish came true. Her wish was filled with surprises from the beginning. When she first arrived at the gym, Dominique gave her a special present: her very own leotard. After they warmed up and stretched, Daeja got to have a private workout with Dominique. They practiced handstands and moves on the balance beam.

Before the day was over, Dominique had one last surprise to show Daeja. Daeja opened a small box and inside was Dominique Dawes’ world famous Olympic Gold Medal. Daeja even got to try it on to see what it feels like to be an Olympic Champion.

Daeja’s arrived to meet her hero and left with inspiration to maybe become an Olympic Champion one day too. 

Make-A-Wish is truly dear to my heart. The love and concern that everyone had to make Daeja's wish the best ever was just remarkable. Everything was planned to perfection. We truly thank Everyone at Make-A-Wish for all they have done.:-) ”

— Daeja's Mom

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