“When they told me that I was going to lose my hair, I probably felt the most moved,” said Emmalese Schultz on Monday afternoon. “They said, ‘You have cancer,’ and I said, ‘I don’t understand.’ And then they said, ‘You’re going to lose your hair,’ and I said, ‘What!?’”
The 14-year-old began her freshman year at Thompson Valley High School in the fall after being diagnosed with leukemia months earlier.
On Monday, she spent her afternoon at Dutch Bros. Coffee in Fort Collins learning to make drinks to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation, of which she will be a beneficiary.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants “wishes” to children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 who are diagnosed with serious illnesses. Those wishes can range from meeting a favorite celebrity to traveling to a dream destination, and Emmalese’s wish, which Hannah Burrin, the on-site coordinator for Monday’s event said will soon be granted, is to marry Ariana Grande meet.
“She’s been my idol for years,” she said, adding that she first heard she was going to grant a wish while she was being drugged during a spinal tap.
“I was pretty high,” she laughed. “I vaguely remember it, and they wanted to take my mind off the spinal tap, so they asked what I wanted to do for my make-a-wish. And I said, ‘I want to meet Ariana Grande.'”
Dutch Bros. is hosting a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation this Friday, January 27th, where a dollar from every drink will be donated to the charity.
Emmalese, a self-confessed coffee lover who had her first taste at age 8, made her way north to Fort Collins to learn how to make some of her signature beverages and serve them to customers.
Most Dutch Bros. locations are drive-up windows only, but the location on Fort Collins’ northeast side is one of the few local Dutch Bros. “coffee houses” that offer seating, an opportunity for customers to mingle with “Broistas” to interact you are hot in setting up and music.
On Monday, only Ariana Grande came out of the speakers.
However, this Friday return day is not limited to this location – any purchase made at any Colorado Dutch Bros. location is eligible.
Most of the children referred to Make-A-Wish come from children’s hospitals, mostly from doctors or nurses. To qualify, a diagnosis must be critical but not necessarily fatal, Burrin said. Those with terminal illnesses get “urgent requests,” she said, letting their requests move up the timeline. For those without terminal diagnoses, like Emmalese, it may take a little longer, but Burrin said her wish would be granted.
“Celebrity requests last anywhere from the next month to two years,” she said. “Because it really matters when the celebrity is on tour. So if Ariana Grande is touring in Chicago, we’re sending her to Chicago, it doesn’t have to be Denver.”
Of the roughly 300 wishes granted each year, only about 40 are rushed, she said.
Schultz is scheduled to finish chemotherapy in April 2024.
“Most of the children we serve overcome,” Burrin said. “We’re just here to give them hope in the meantime.”