Jordan’s Wish – Make a Wish® Montana – Helena MT Photographer

Posted by in Family Portraits, Life, Joy, Laughter

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Jordan.  Jordan was a very happy little girl and was much beloved by everyone who knew her.  But when Jordan was about five years old she started having episodes of illness, and as she got older the episodes got worse and worse.


Finally when Jordan was nine, her parents insisted that she be tested for pancreatitis—the doctors were skeptical, but it turned out that Jordan was indeed suffering from chronic pancreatitis.  Jordan was a very very sick little girl, her illness caused her excruciating pain and it got so bad that she couldn’t even go to school.  Instead, Jordan would lie on the couch and sketch and clip pictures from magazines and dream about fashion design.


Jordan also dreamed of visiting Europe, so plans began for a wonderful trip to be made to Europe with her grandparents, Caroline and Del.  A Mediterranean/European cruise was booked for the spring of 2011.  However, two weeks before they would have left for their trip, Jordan and her grandma both got very sick and ended up in the hospital.  Jordan was having complications with her pancreatitis and Caroline was having complications with breast cancer.  Their trip to Europe was never made.


Jordan finally had surgery for her pancreatitis in December of 2011.  She was eleven years old.  The doctors removed her pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, part of her intestine, and part of her stomach.  They also transplanted islet cells into her liver (a fairly new medical procedure that will hopefully help Jordan produce some insulin even without a pancreas).  Jordan will still have to be on insulin for the rest of her life, but after the surgery her health began to improve tremendously and everyone in her life rejoiced.


Unfortunately, Caroline’s prognosis was not as positive and eight months after Jordan’s surgery Jordan’s grandma passed away.  It was a very hard loss for Jordan and her family.


Months earlier, Jordan’s story had been submitted to Make a Wish, and the folks at Make a Wish knew of Jordan’s love of fashion and Europe.  But they had told Jordan’s family that a wish that “big” was rarely granted – it was far more likely that Jordan would get to go to LA for a fun fashion-related trip.


Now at this point you are probably wondering about all of these loose ends and random details – but for you to fully appreciate the ending to this tale I had to explain it all:)


A couple months after Caroline’s passing, it was decided by Make a Wish that Jordan was not going to receive a trip to LA.  Instead, she was going to be granted a trip to Europe—the trip she had never gotten to make with her grandparents!  Not only that, but her wish was going to be sponsored by Macy’s, the very place that Caroline had worked for eight years.  Clearly Grandma Caroline was working her own fairy godmother magic to make sure her granddaughter got the trip they had planned to go on together.  (goose bumps, yes?!)


So on the afternoon of December 14th, twelve year-old Jordan and her family came to Macy’s to deliver a huge stack of letters to Santa (as part of a fundraiser for Make a Wish – read more about Macy’s donation for every letter to Santa here and here).


Waiting for them was a crowd of friends and family (and of course lots of Caroline’s co-workers from Macy’s) and a table full of gifts.  All in celebration of this very special young woman who had overcome such obstacles in her life.


It was only then that Jordan found out that she was having a wish granted by Make a Wish and Macy’s (it had been a COMPLETE secret up until that moment!)—and that her European trip was coming true in a way she could have never imagined:  she and her family will be visiting Paris this spring for the “fashion trip” of a lifetime.


And we all know that Caroline was there among us sharing in the happy tears and joyous hugs.



I was asked by Make a Wish Montana if I would be willing to document these moments for Jordan and her family – and it was such a great honor to do so.  I can’t say I was able to hold back the tears behind my camera, but I do hope I was able to do these beautiful moments justice.


I also hope this story and these images touch your heart as much as they did mine.


Here are some of my favorite details and moments from this special afternoon….


Santa listened to the wishes of children at Macy’s as we waited for Jordan to arrive.



Part of the surprise were several items autographed by Taylor Swift, one of Jordan’s favorite artists.  Jordan also received signed items from Jessica Simpson and Hope Solo, soccer player and Olympic Gold Medalist.



The fabulous Paris cake was made & donated by Dani Morris of Piece of Cake Creations.



There was an entire table filled with gifts – many donated by local Helena businesses (Leslie’s Hallmark, Ben Franklin, and employees of Helena’s Macy’s store).  I thought it was really special that Jordan’s brother was also remembered with many gifts perfect for a young boy.



Jordan finally arrived – and before she found out the REAL reason she was there she helped her little brother mail a stack of letters to Santa.



Dawn (the manager at Helena’s Macy’s store and a friend of Jordan’s late grandma) is finally able to tell Jordan why she’s really at Macy’s on that Friday afternoon.



And from that moment on there weren’t many dry eyes….




Especially from Jordan’s mom & dad….








Jordan was interviewed by several TV and newspaper reporters (talk about a poised young woman!).



Jordan’s little brother just kept saying “oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my GOSH!”



Several of Jordan’s elementary teachers came to give Jordan big hugs.



But no one was more happy than Jordan’s little brother and her mom and dad.





And the love of this family for each other…well, that’s really what this is all about….


Make-A-Wish ® Montana is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The Foundation serves all 56 counties in Montana and granted its first wish in 1987. Since then, more than 350 wishes have come true with the help of more than 60 volunteers. For more information on how to refer children or to volunteer, please call Make-A-Wish at 1-877-574-9474 or visit its Web site at


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