For the past five years, Isabel Schuppli and her family — including her biological sister, Vanessa — have sponsored Kidist Meskele through Compassion Canada.

By Michelle Lepage (Edmonton Sun) |

Diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago at the age of 16, Edmonton’s Isabel Schuppli is a typical bubbly teenager.

The Grade 12 student plays piano, likes to read and watch movies and is looking forward to studying economics at the University of Alberta in the fall.

Schuppli underwent surgery to remove her thyroid shortly after being diagnosed in 2015. She then had a radioactive iodine treatment — used to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue — which led to her being quarantined in her family’s basement for a week.

“I had to be isolated from everyone alive,” Schuppli said Wednesday. “I could talk to my family through Skype and phone, but I couldn’t see them or any of my friends. It was hard to go through that alone.”

Schuppli, now cancer-free, was granted a wish from the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.

After much debate and some help from her mother, she chose to use her wish to meet her “sister” in Ethiopia for the first time.

“I was very surprised by how similar we were,” said Schuppli. “I found it was really easy to relate to her and we really clicked. That was surprising to me that it would work out so well.”

Schuppli’s “sister” is Kidist Meskele, 17, who lives in the town of Alaba Kulito.

For the past five years, Schuppli and her family — including her biological sister, Vanessa — have sponsored Kidist Meskele through Compassion Canada.

Although Schuppli said the language barrier made it difficult to communicate, the girls used gestures and, because they were together in person, picked up on each other’s vibes.

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