Meet Alisa, a 17-year-old with dreams to defend her country as a U.S. Marine. Alisa is also fighting her own battle – an inoperable brain tumor that at one time left her paralyzed and unable to speak and still requires extensive treatment.
Because of her medical condition, Alisa didn’t think her dream to be Marine would be possible. That was when Make-A-Wish stepped in to make her dream a reality. On her wish, Alisa traveled to Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA. Alisa’s first adventure as a Marine was to see the recruits in the barracks being trained and disciplined by hardcore US Marine Corps drill instructors. During her wish, Alisa received her own Marine Corps uniform, complete with Private first class Chevron pins and received a tour of the barracks.
“They made me feel like I was the commander,” Alisa told the Ravalli Republic newspaper.
Alisa was treated like a VIP guest from start to finish. During a morning presentation of the colors, Alisa received a thunderous round of applause when General Yoo mentioned Alisa’s desire to become a Marine in his speech. Alisa was also presented with a plaque and given an “honorable mention” in front of a crowd of hundreds during a graduation ceremony of 400 Marine recruits. The smile never left her face, and when a retired Major General heard Alisa’s story, he presented her with his Marine Corps medallion, a special way to commemorate Alisa's biggest battle, the one for her life. Not only does Alisa have many priceless memories from her Marine experience in San Diego, but she also has a renewed bond with her family.