On Saturday August 25th, 15-year-old Sharlin from Andover, New Jersey, experienced a special, cultural milestone in her life – a Quinceañera party in her honor. Sharlin’s wish for such a celebration, hosted at Perona Farms in Andover, was granted by Make-A-Wish New Jersey in partnership with Goya. Through the long-established Goya Gives program, Make-A-Wish and Goya joined together to create an unforgettable experience for Sharlin and her family.
Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Sharlin, diagnosed with a critical heart condition, declared that her one true wish was to celebrate this significant moment in her life, consistent with her Mexican culture, with her closest friends and family. Sharlin’s heart condition has presented many struggles for her, but she has faced them with courage and a positive attitude. When Sharlin's mother, Maricruz, was told Sharlin's wish for a Quinceañera would be granted, she began to cry tears of joy.
The evening began with Sharlin and her family arriving to Perona Farms in a horse-drawn carriage, greeted by over 75 guests including friends, family, Make-A-Wish staff, volunteers, and friends from Goya. Through their partnership, Goya provided financial support of Sharlin’s wish to cover costs of the celebration, in addition to working with community partners and securing a fully-donated dress and custom fitting for Sharlin from Arecia’s Creations in Weehawkin, designing and printing event invitations, and providing volunteers to assist in the successful execution of the event.
"How proud are we to call Goya a partner as we celebrate Sharlin on this special night,” shared Tom Weatherall, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey. “They have continued to go above and beyond in their commitment to making Sharlin’s wish a life-changing experience, giving hope, strength and joy to a child when she needs it most.”
In addition to the horse-drawn carriage, the evening included a special dance with her father, traditional ceremonies, food, music, dancing, and a celebration of Sharlin.
Goya Gives is a national initiative committed to promoting and supporting the overall well-being of the community through social responsibility, environmental initiatives and company values.
"Every little girl dreams of being a princess one day and we are so happy to be a part of making Sharlin's wish come true," says Rafael Toro, Director of Public Relations of Goya Foods. "Through Goya Gives, we are able to make meaningful contributions and a difference in the lives who need it the most."
For more information on Make-A-Wish New Jersey, visit nj.wish.org.