Two months ago, three Olympic champions were able to grant a very special wish, thanks to a children’s charity called Kids Wish Network. Diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis, Melinda Ortega of Chicago wanted to meet some of her favorite gymnasts—and what better place to meet them than on the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions?
In November 2016, Kids Wish Network and USA Gymnastics worked to make Melinda’s wish come true, arranging for her to attend the Philadelphia stop on the Kellogg’s Tour. Arriving in a limo at the Wells Fargo Center, Melinda had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and Shawn Johnson.
“It was amazing spending time with Melinda, and helping to make her wish truly special,” remarked four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles. “Melinda’s strength in such difficult times was a true inspiration to me and the other gymnasts.”
Anna Lanzatella, the executive director for Kids Wish Network, says that USA Gymnastics and the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions “went out of their way to make this such a memorable experience” for Melinda.
“Imagine the excitement Melinda felt when meeting not just one but several of her own heroes,” Anna added.
On behalf of Melinda and her family, Kids Wish Network would like to thank USA Gymnastics, The Kellogg Tour of Gymnastics Champions 2016, Global Limousine Service, The Capital Grille, and the Ritz Carlton of Philadelphia for helping making Melinda’s day so memorable. Other generous sponsors who made Melinda’s wish possible include: All American Limousines, AQIMERO Restaurant, The Richel D’Ambra Spa & Salon, Giordano’s, Jewel Osco, and Dairy Queen.
Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com