Make-A-Wish offers hope to local children at Easter

ENCINITAS — The familiar sights and sounds of Easter were present as eager children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation gathered to hunt for eggs at Quail Botanical Gardens on April 10.
“This is the most tug-at-the-heartstrings thing we do at Quail,” Executive Director Julian Duval said. Docents from the gardens and the foundation’s staff joined together for the 14th year to bring joy to families with children facing life-threatening medical conditions.
Despite the drizzling rain and looming clouds, more than 100 children of all ages joined the Easter Bunny for the private event. Rhonda Giuffre brought her son Michael, 15, from Carmel Valley. “He usually doesn’t get to attend a lot of things because he has a suppressed immune system,” she said.
While Michael was excited to find a few eggs in the Children’s Garden, he had more fun blowing bubbles. “It’s the simple things that make him so happy,” Giuffre said as she watched her son.
The event also gave parents and siblings an opportunity to mingle in a social setting. “A lot of these parents know each other because they spend so much time at the hospital,” Duval said. “This gives them a chance to relax and enjoy each other outside of that traditional setting.”
Set on 30 acres off of Encinitas Boulevard on Quail Gardens Drive, the gardens’ mission is to inspire people of all ages to connect with plants and nature. By combining a variety of gardens with more than 3,500 plants, trails and native habitat, it provides an oasis of peace and tranquility within a growing city.

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