8-year-old leukemia patient uses her Make-A-Wish to help Hurricane Maria survivors

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Thursday, September 6, 2018
8-year-old leukemia survivor uses her Make-A-Wish to help others
Eight-year-old Zelaya Guevara is a fighter. She has survived a difficult six-year battle with a rare form of leukemia.

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Eight-year-old Zelaya Guevara is a fighter. She has survived a difficult six-year battle with a rare form of leukemia. Now, in remission for two years, she's finally well enough to request her wish from Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties, and that wish is to help the people in Puerto Rico, who are still struggling one year after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.

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Zelaya explains what prompted her to make this wish: "It was the kids sitting on the counter with their parents standing in the gross water trying to keep them safe."

"Her big thing is making other families happy and seeing the kids smile again and giving the families some sort of relief so they don't have to constantly be worried about food or water," the 8-year-old's mom, Charlie Curtis-Guevara, says.

Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties CEO, Pattie Mullins, admits Zelaya's wish is unusual. "It's a very rare wish that we get where a child wants to give back and give to others especially someone so young as Zelaya, being 8 years old," Mullins said. "It's just phenomenal."

RELATED: Death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria officially raised to 2,975 from 64

Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties teamed up with World Central Kitchen in Puerto Rico to provide food and water, but they need help collecting toys here at home. They haven't yet reached Zelaya's goal of 300 toys and there are only a few days left. Next week, the toys will be sent to Puerto Rico.

The plan is to deliver the food, water and toys on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria. "It makes me feel good that other people feel good," Zelaya said.

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You can find toy drop-off locations and other details on the Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Zelaya has this message for the people in Puerto Rico: "Keep your head held high. You are never alone and I'm sending love to you always."

You have until Sept. 9 to drop off new, unwrapped toys to help Zelaya's wish come true.

Get the latest updates on Hurricane Maria here.