Kathy Rodriguez carefully placed a petite, sparkly tiara on her head and looked to the group of jewelry store employees gathered nearby.
"This is the winner," the 17-year-old from Santa Monica affirmed after the coronet won positive reviews.
Diagnosed with liver cancer last summer and now in remission, Rodriguez’s trip Wednesday to in Westwood Village was organized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.
Most of her friends celebrated their fifteenth birthdays with quinceañera celebrations, but Rodriguez’s family couldn’t afford to throw her the traditional party. Now, two years later, she’ll celebrate in style.
Though Make-A-Wish grants a lot of wishes for quinceañeras, Saturday's party will be the first of its kind on the Westside, said Jessica Partida, wish coordinator for the L.A. chapter of Make-A-Wish.
Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers gave Rodriguez some birthday bling Wednesday for her upcoming fete. Involved with Jewelers for Children, a charity that donates to programs that benefit children who are sick, abused or neglected, the jewelry store donated a necklace, earrings and the tiara.
"She has to have some jewelry for her birthday," store owner Gail Friedman said.
Rodriguez chose from pieces with lime green-colored gems, her favorite hue and also the color of her August birthstone, peridot.
A senior with a passion for volunteering, Rodriguez dreams of attending USC to become a kindergarten teacher.
Friedman said she was happy to give away the accessories. "You want to do whatever you can possibly do," she said.
With some advice from her father, and Friedman’s help, Rodriguez selected a swingy pair of earrings, a shiny green necklace and the stunning tiara. She’ll wear all three pieces with a green poofy dress à la Cinderella during her party Saturday at the .
With a dress and jewelry to match, Rodriguez said she’s looking forward to Saturday. "I’m excited," she said.