KALISPELL — Make-A-Wish Montana and family and friends surprised 19-year old Rakiah Grende on Thursday night at the Music One Workshop in downtown Kalispell.
Rakiah, who was diagnosed with a rare form of Germ Cell Tumor cancer in 2017, had picked up guitar while fighting her diagnosis. Rakiah’s mother, Jami Grende, says it was playing the guitar with her neighbor John Robinson that helped push her forward.
“I wish thrilled that she chose this route because it was playing the guitar that got her through her cancer,” said Grende.
After learning how to play guitar from her neighbor, Rakiah had her eye on a Gibson ES 335 for her Make-A-Wish gift.
Rakiah, a freshman at Carroll College and a walk-on for the basketball team, is back home for winter break. She told MTN News she was expecting to see family over the holiday, but was surprised to see so many at the music store.
“I didn’t know this was going to happen but I knew family was going to be here, so yeah it’s great,” Rakiah said.
Jami says the make a wish surprise has been in the works for more than a year ans wants to thank all the Make-A-Wish Montana volunteers for making Rakiah’s dream come true.
“If you’re lucky enough that you don’t have to go through a traumatic event like we did the cancer, you aren’t really going to know what Make A Wish does, until you live it...and appreciate the hard work and dedication and devotion that they put to each and every kid, child, that has an illness," Jami said.