91/11/2001: The Day That Changed America
Wish Granted
Cancer Victim Uses Her Make-a-Wish to Help 9/11 Victims
By Karen Fanning

Brandi, (center, with young girl) poses with family members of victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. (Photo Courtesy Brandi Bouchard)
Like most Americans, Brandi Bouchard watched TV in horror, as the World Trade Center toppled into a mountain of debris on the morning of September 11, 2001. Sadly, Brandi's own life had been rocked a day earlier when doctors told her the large lump on her thigh was a tumor.

"The day before, it seems like my life came crashing down," says the 18-year-old from Sidney, Maine. "Then the next day, it was the whole world."

Within weeks, Brandi was diagnosed with synovial cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. By early October, the Maine teen was undergoing chemotherapy treatments twice a month, which left her achey and exhausted.

Although she was too sick to help with her school's 9/11 fund raiser, Brandi couldn't forget the faces of the families looking for their missing loved ones. So in November, when she was granted a wish through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, she knew instantly what she wanted to do. She would deliver guardian angel pins to the heroes and victims of September 11.

"I got a lot of guardian angel pins from friends and family members when I was sick and I believe they helped me," Brandi says. "My treatment plan was supposed to be for a year. I was done with treatment in four months."

In February, with her chemotherapy and radiation treatments behind her, Brandi met with Make-a-Wish Foundation officials and let them in on her plan. Finally, last June, she got to make her long-awaited trip to the Big Apple.

After visiting Ground Zero, Brandi met with the New York City Police Commissioner and Fire Chief. While she got to ride on a fire engine and cruise aboard a police boat, Brandi says her most memorable moments were spent with the families. Equally unforgettable was the day she visited the Engine 28, Ladder 11 firehouse.

"They were all so nice," Brandi says about the firemen she met. "After everything that happened, they just all wanted to do anything I wanted to do. I could have asked for the world, and they would have tried to give it to me."

Brandi wanted to return that generosity of spirit, a mission she hopes she accomplished by presenting each person she met with a little silver pin.

"I wanted to give them a little bit of hope," she says. "I wanted to let them know they always had somebody looking over them, a guardian angel."

Do you think these kids are heroes? To nominate a hero into our Hall of Heroes, click here.