Meet Olivia, a 7-year-old girl whose life has been far from easy. Olivia has been in and out of hospitals since she was born, having 9 hospital stays by the time she was 18 months old. She battled asthma as an infant and shortly after was diagnosed with Glioma, a type of cancer that comes from tumors in the brain. At just 4 years old, Olivia was hospitalized for several months while she fought to survive, it was at this point that Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida stepped in to grant her a wish!
Olivia loves Disney songs, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and the color purple. As her wish, Olivia requested to go to Disney World during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas celebration to meet her favorite Disney Princess, Elena of Avalor. She chose this wish because she loves princesses and dreams of becoming one herself. Going to Disney World gave her and her family a chance to escape doctor’s appointments and MRI scans for a magical week together.
Olivia, along with her parents, brother, and sister arrived at Give Kids The World resort to begin their fun-filled week. “The resort was amazing,” stated Olivia’s mother Tammy, “it really brought our trip full-circle. Olivia ate ice cream for breakfast every morning.”
When they woke up the next day ready to go to Magic Kingdom, they were greeted at their hotel room with a balloon and a button for Olivia to wear that said “celebrating 1 year of being cancer-free!” She proudly wore it as they set off for Magic Kingdom. Olivia’s first stop at the park was the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle where she spent two hours being pampered and transformed into Princess Elena. After she was all dolled up she was given VIP treatment with fast passes for her and her family, which gave them quick access to all of the rides. When they had gone on every ride, Olivia was able to complete her wish by meeting Princess Elena and taking pictures with her to capture the moment. It was the perfect ending to her day.
Her family spent the rest of the week visiting the other theme parks, meeting more Disney characters, and eating unlimited ice cream at the resort. “Olivia has always been an introvert,” Tammy stated, “but during this experience she truly blossomed. It was an incredible trip.”
According to the 2011 Wish Impact Study, 99% of parents who have children diagnosed with a critical illness reported increased feelings of happiness in their child and 96% reported that the experience strengthened their family.
Olivia and her family returned home with full hearts and memories that will last a lifetime. While Olivia’s future is looking bright, there are millions of other kids facing critical illnesses just like her that need a wish. You can help bring strength and joy to critically ill children that can give them an edge in conquering their illnesses. Learn how by visiting cnfl.wish.org.