During the course of her treatment, Linda was referred to Make-A-Wish and was given the chance of a lifetime… the opportunity to make one big wish.
In some respects Linda is a typical teenager- she giggles when she talks about boys, loves to dress up, wear makeup and play with jewelry. But that’s where the similarities end…Linda, only 16 years old, started her own jewelry design business while going through grueling chemotherapy and radiation treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“Linda never complained about fighting cancer and always kept a positive attitude” says her mother, Carmen. To help her cope, she started making jewelry at the hospital. It was when a nurse asked Linda if he could buy a pair of earrings for his mother that the business was born. With the help of her parents and four younger sisters, she launched her very own jewelry line, “Linda’s Designs 4U”.
During the course of her treatment, Linda was referred to Make-A-Wish® and was given the chance of a lifetime… the opportunity to make one big wish. After giving it a great deal of thought, she decided that her wish was to meet and be mentored by her favorite entrepreneur, Ivanka Trump, who has a successful line of fine jewelry, shoes, handbags and clothing.
Ivanka graciously accepted the invitation to grant Linda’s wish and it was decided that Linda should learn this wonderful news in a big way. The amazing ladies of the Chi Omega at UCSD adopted Linda’s wish and organized her wish reveal party, which included over 80 members, who gathered to present Linda with countless gifts and get her ready for her trip.
Linda, her parents, and her four younger sisters were whisked away to New York City for her wish trip. The family was invited to stay at Trump SoHo Hotel and upon arrival they were presented with beautiful gift bags filled with clothes, handbags and shoes from Ivanka Trump’s line. The family was also treated to delicious deserts and hot fudge sundaes delivered right to their room after a visit to The Spa at Trump, and the VIP treatment lasted throughout the trip.
The big wish day was planned for a time when Ivanka’s elegant flagship jewelry store in SoHo was closed t the public, so that she and Linda could have some special time to bond. It was raining when the limousine pulled up to the jewelry store. Linda was wearing one of the beautiful coats she had received, and when the chauffeur opened the door and held an umbrella over her head to escort her inside, people stopped and stared, wondering who she was.
Ivanka greeted her at the door, gave her a tour of her boutique and spent time answering Linda’s questions. When Linda pointed to her favorite designs in the store, Ivanka encouraged her to try on anything she liked and presented Linda a beautiful pearl and diamond necklace with her signature design. Linda also brought several gifts for Ivanka, including an earring and necklace set that perfectly matched the outfit she was wearing. Ivanka immediately took off her jewelry put on the designs Linda had made, mentioning how impressed she was with Linda’s talent. Linda and Ivanka then posed for pictures wearing each other’s jewelry – Linda’s favorite photo of the entire trip.
Upon returning home, the CEO of Ivanka’s company extended an invitation for Linda and her mother to attend a jewelry trade show in Las Vegas the following week. Linda was the youngest jewelry designer at the prestigious trade show, but with her beautiful smile and a firm hand shake she introduced herself… “Hi, I’m Linda Cifuentes, I’m a jewelry designer and here is my business card”.
This is just the beginning for Linda, whose cancer is now in remission. There is no limit to what Linda can accomplish and her wish experience has reinforced her belief that anything is possible!