Marissa Morrison, 15, of Beaver Falls loves to design and color. Her creativity proved fruitful recently when one of her designs was selected as one of five holiday cards for Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia, a nonprofit organization that fulfills wishes for children, ages 2 1/2 to 18, who have life-threatening medical conditions.
"It was quite a surprise when we got the letter," said Marissa's mother, Faith Morrison. "She was very excited."
Marissa's design of a penguin emerging from a Christmas present will be featured in full color on the front of the card with her name, hometown, age, medical condition and wish listed on the back of the card.
Mrs. Morrison said Marissa came up with the design on her own and chose a penguin because she likes them and thought it would be appropriate for the winter scene. She described Marissa as very crafty and said she thought about the design for a long time before sketching it, and then spent a few days creating the card.
Marissa was diagnosed with lymphoid leukemia in April 2010. She completed 2 1/2 years' worth of treatment this past September and is now in remission.
It was while Marissa was at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC that Mrs. Morrison said they learned about Make-A-Wish. The idea that she would have a wish granted is what Mrs. Morrison said got Marissa through her treatment.
Marissa is currently undecided as to her wish, but Mrs. Morrison said it will definitely be a trip to somewhere warm and sunny with a beach.
Mrs. Morrison said she and her husband George think it is an honor that Marissa's design was chosen and are excited for her.
In addition to the recognition, Marissa will receive a free set of cards featuring her design.
Make-A-Wish is accepting orders for the full-color, festive cards, which are available at $15 for a package of 15 cards (plus shipping and handling charges). Proceeds from the card sales will benefit Make-A-Wish.
Information: www.wishgreaterpa.org or 412-471-9474.
Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org