Coming from a large family, Amelia ‘Amy’ D., age 68 of Great Neck, NY, takes the meaning of family to heart. When Amy was 10, she and her three younger siblings were adopted and were separated from their older sister, Lina. Amy hasn’t seen Lina since 1964 and her Wish of a Lifetime is to reunite with her sister she hasn’t seen in 50 years.
Amelia “Amy” D. and her five siblings grew up in a remote village in Italy, until her father’s unexpected death at the age of 38 tore apart the family. Her mother, unable to care for the six children on her own, asked Amy’s uncle to adopt the four youngest and take them to New York for a better life. The two eldest children, Lina and Rocco, stayed behind in Italy to care for their devastated mother. Lina later married and moved to Australia, making a reunion between the sisters seem next to impossible.
They lived their separate lives, but they were always in each other’s hearts.
“I look back on my life,” says Amy, “and realized I missed growing up with her and doing what sisters generally do…sharing clothes, birthdays, being at her wedding, getting to know her husband and four children. Lina recently lost her husband…and I was not there to comfort her and her family. Having her visit my sisters and I would be a monumental wish of a lifetime.”
With help from Wish of a Lifetime and Philips Lifeline, Lina was able to travel from Australia to New York with her son, Mario. After five decades apart, Lina finally reunited with her four younger sisters, Amy, Marguerite, Rose and Maria. The sisters spent six weeks catching up on their 5 decades apart. When the extended family discovered that this would be Lina’s first visit to the United States, they rallied 50 family members together for a reunion to reconnect with Lina and celebrate Amy. “The reunion was very, very nice,” said Amy. “The family got so emotional.”
This wish had a tremendous impact not only on Amy, our wish recipient, but on each of the sisters. “I was the happiest when I had my twins,” said Lina tearfully. “This [reunion] was the second happiest day.” Amy’s Wish was fulfilled through a collaboration between Philips Lifeline and Wish of a Lifetime. Together the organizations are empowering three deserving older adults to achieve their dreams by granting their greatest wishes.