Wish comes true for Naugatuck teen

Raven Griffin, 16, of Naugatuck, receives a VIP welcome as she walks into the Brass Mill Center Mall in Waterbury Aug. 27 as mall manager Tony Guerriero, left, looks on. Griffin, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 3 weeks old, was granted a shopping spree wish at the mall by Make-A-Wish Connecticut. -JORDAN E. GRICE

Raven Griffin, 16, of Naugatuck, receives a VIP welcome as she walks into the Brass Mill Center Mall in Waterbury Aug. 27 as mall manager Tony Guerriero, left, looks on. Griffin, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 3 weeks old, was granted a shopping spree wish at the mall by Make-A-Wish Connecticut. -JORDAN E. GRICE

WATERBURY — If you had one wish, what would it be? For 16-year-old Raven Griffin one wish stood out above the rest — a shopping spree at her favorite stores.

On the morning of Aug. 27, Make-A-Wish Connecticut made the Naugatuck teen’s wish come true in grand fashion at the Brass Mill Center Mall.

Griffin’s big day began in VIP style. She arrived with her mother, Catherine Curtis, and volunteer wish granters, Nancy Ross and Rita Refkofsky, via limousine to a red-carpet welcome as mall and store managers greeted Griffin with a bouquet of flowers.

Her shopping spree itinerary started at Macy’s and included stops at Sephora for a makeup experience, Journey, H&M, Forever 21, Footlocker, lunch at Bertucci’s, and much more.

As she made her way to Macy’s, Griffin, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 3 weeks old, was all smiles as she donned a blue sash that read “wishes do come true.”

While all of the stores in the mall were still closed, Griffin and company were greeted with applause by Macy’s staff as they opened their doors determined to give a warm welcome.

For Griffin, the realization of her wish was a pleasant surprise as she declared her love for shopping.

“It’s super cool. We both (Griffin and Curtis) didn’t expect this to happen,” Griffin said. “We didn’t expect the wish to ever be an option.”

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breath over time. Prior to Griffin’s diagnosis, her family didn’t know anything about the illness.

According to Curtis, Griffin’s condition served as a life-changing experience for her entire family. However, with new medication and a watchful eye, Curtis is optimistic about her daughter’s quality of life.

Prior to the wish granting process, Curtis was unaware that children with cystic fibrosis could be on the Make-A-Wish list. She was surprised to hear that her daughter had not only made the list, but was also picked for her shopping spree.

“It’s amazing for her. Raven absolutely loves shopping,” Curtis said. “She didn’t know how major it was going to be, and neither did I. They [sent] a limo and she got flowers and now she is in Macy’s. Macy’s is a really big supporter of Make-A-Wish, so it’s awesome.”

Make-A-Wish Connecticut is a nonprofit foundation that grants children with life-threatening illnesses a special wish. Following a recommendation from Griffin’s doctor, the foundation chose the Naugatuck teen as their next recipient.

According to Ross, the shopping spree wish only took eight days to grant, which is speedier than usual.

“This was amazing, it doesn’t usually happen that fast,” Ross said. “I feel if I can make one child’s life a little bit happier, even if it’s just for an hour, then I feel like it is worthwhile, and I love it.”