Make-A-Wish® Southern Nevada Grants Former Competitive Cheerleader Wish to Be a Celebrity VIP, in Partnership with Resorts World Las Vegas and Venafi

By | March 11, 2022


Marissa, a 12-year-old former competitive cheerleader, received her wish to be a celebrity VIP thanks to Make-A-Wish® Southern Nevada. In partnership with Resorts World Las Vegas and Venafi, Marissa was surprised with a true red-carpet experience hosted at the newest resort to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in over a decade.

A natural born leader, Marissa dedicated her life to competitive cheerleading and staying active whenever she could. Since being diagnosed with Gorham-Stout disease, or “vanishing bone disease,” last year, Marissa’s days at the gym were reduced to zero as she immediately entered treatment for her illness. Because her condition forces her to be homebound, Marissa has wanted nothing more than to disconnect from reality and feel on top of the world again.

Marissa eagerly looked forward to stepping into the glamorous life of a celebrity. Her wish began with a send-off by Make-A-Wish® Southern Nevada employees at The Wishing Place, where she was surprised with private car service in one of the signature “Resorts World Red” Rolls-Royce Phantoms. Accompanied by her mom and best friend, Marissa was whisked away to the luxurious resort and greeted with a red-carpet arrival, complete with a welcome message shown on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot LED screen.

After settling into her luxe hotel suite located in the renowned Crockfords Las Vegas, Marissa set off on a four-day VIP guest experience. Her itinerary included a full day of pampering at AWANA Spa & Wellness, private shopping experience at Twila True Fine Jewelry & Watches, and an exclusive celebrity model photo shoot on property.

“Getting to witness a child receive his or her wish is always heartwarming, and Marissa’s wish was no exception,” said Scott Rosenzweig, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish® Southern Nevada. “We are so thankful for our partners at Resorts World Las Vegas and Venafi for their efforts in making Marissa’s wish to be a celebrity VIP possible.”

“As we planned Marissa’s wish, it was important that we put our heart into every action and interaction,” said Lori Calderon, Executive Director of Community Engagement at Resorts World Las Vegas. “We feel honored to have been a small part of Marissa’s story, and she will always be part of the Resorts World Las Vegas family.”

“We’re so appreciative of Make-A-Wish, Resorts World Las Vegas and Venafi for making this all happen for Marissa—it means the world to us,” said Marissa’s mom, Tonia. “This experience was just amazing. I never thought any of this could happen.”

Marissa’s wish experience gave her the strength she needed to heal and hope for a brighter future. For more information about Make-A-Wish® Southern Nevada, please visit


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