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After her family made a permanent move to America, Mariela believed her biggest fear would be adjusting to her new home and learning a new language. Unfortunately, within that same year, sixteen-year-old Mariela was diagnosed with renal failure. While the diagnosis was tragic, Mariela immediately began treatment.
Since Mariela was a little girl, she loved repairing anything she could get her hands on, especially classic cars. Her passion for repairing cars is essentially what led her to be a fan of the Marvel superhero known as Tony Stark. As Mariela recalls her first time watching Iron Man, she was awed by Robert Downey Jr.’s humor, passion and character; not only did he fix cars but he also built his Iron Man suit.
When Mariela’s hospital encouraged her to apply for a wish, she knew this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the man that gave her the wings she needed become her own superhero.
In May 2016, Mariela’s wish would finally come true as she flew to New York City for her very first time to meet Robert Downey Jr. at the Captain America movie premiere! It was an exciting day for Mariela as she walked the red carpet, saw the most talked about celebrities and heard the screaming fans on every corner; yet she did not become star struck until Robert Downey Jr. walked up to her with a cheerful smile on his face.
Together, the legendary actor and Mariela had a wonderful conversation about never giving up on her hopes and dreams. Weeks later, Mariela was notified that she had been accepted into the top Health Care Management program at her dream college!