ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico teen is overcoming her fear and fighting in the face of physical challenges to make her wish come true.
Esperanza Dominguez-Archibeque, 15, has been training in the pool in anticipation of leaving for a very special trip Saturday morning.
“I’m really excited, like ‘Yay,’ excited!” Esperanza said.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is helping her get to Hawaii to swim with dolphins.
But first, she had to learn how to swim.
“On the first day I started swimming, I kind of got nervous,” Esperanza said.
She’s been taking swimming lessons at Defined Fitness almost every day for the last three weeks.
“In the beginning, she just kept even saying you know sometimes, ‘I don’t trust you. Ii don’t trust you. I’m not sure about this,’ and when we finally crossed that hurdle, I started to get the thumbs up and the mask would come off like, ‘This is awesome,’” said Defined Fitness Trainer Cheri Kulp.
While Esperanza had fun, especially with the news camera around on Friday, it hasn’t all been easy.
She is a foster child, battling physical challenges like chronic lung disease, aspiration issues and varicella syndrome, a rare disorder that causes abnormalities at birth after an expecting mother has the chickenpox.
For ten years, Esperanza could only eat with a feeding tube, up until just a few months ago, her foster mom said.
“She’s just been making amazing strides health-wise, and I think it’s a miracle,” said Nancy Coburn, Esperanza’s foster mother.
Her latest accomplishments in the pool will be put to the test soon because the next time she gets in the water, she will be in Hawaii.
“Seeing her get so excited and enjoying that skill and seeing that there’s just great pleasure from it has been incredible,” Coburn said.
Esperanza and her family will be in Hawaii for a week.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is paying for it all, from the flight to the hotel.
Esperanza’s family paid for swimming classes at Defined Fitness.
Then the gym matched that, giving her double the classes so that she goes back after Hawaii to continue improving her skills.