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Renae Goettel is one in four million. Literally.

Renae Goettel is one in four million. Literally.

by Jeanette Tarcha, Make-A-Wish

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 6:23 PM

5th annual Walk for Wishes
Marymoor Park
Sunday, September 23
Registration prior to the event is free –

Born legally blind and in complete kidney failure at age 12, Renae was diagnosed with Senior Lokens, an extremely rare genetic disorder that at the time only affected one person in the United States annually.

She underwent dialysis for 10 hours a day, seven days a week for 18 months before receiving a kidney from her mother.  Renae thought her life had finally changed but her difficulties had only just begun.  After complications from the kidney transplant, Renae underwent 25 surgeries while in and out of the hospital for two years.  Doctors then diagnosed Renae with cancer.

In the midst of all this chaos, Renae received some encouraging and good news when Make-A-Wish volunteers visited her and told her that her wish to meet her idol, two-time All-Star NBA forward, and fellow kidney transplant recipient, Sean Elliott. Renae and Sean forged a unique bond and friendship that has lasted more than 10 years.

Like many Make-A-Wish recipients say, her experience was life-changing. "I returned home from my wish with an increased desire to set high expectations for myself, dream big and live life to the fullest," she said. “It's hard to find the words to adequately describe how an hour of someone's time changed my life forever."

Her wish inspired her to move to San Antonio, attend Trinity University and become the first blind student to graduate from the institution, as well as eventually work for the Spurs organization.
Each year, Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington grants wishes to more than 300 children who need a much-needed break from hospital stays, doctor visits, procedures and surgeries.
Now a wish granting volunteer for other children undergoing similar situations like she did, Renae helps to provide hope to these kids at a time when they need it most.

Renae will show her Make-A-Wish support at the 5th annual Walk for Wishes at Marymoor Park on Sunday, September 23. This family-friendly 5K walk and fun run is for all ages and will feature kid's activities, refreshments and entertainment. Registration prior to the event is free – day of there is a $25 walk up registration fee – but it is a fundraising event so participants are asked to raise a minimum of $100. Learn more and register at