ROCHESTER, Mich. – Have you ever wished you could stand along Wisteria Lane during a taping of your favorite Sunday night television series, “Desperate Housewives,” listening to the behind-the-scenes witty banter of the impressive cast before the director yells, “Quiet on the set!”? A remarkable teenager who is recovering from serious injuries that she received in a plane crash made this very wish, and it came true thanks to Kids Wish Network, the wonderful cast and crew of ABC’s Desperate Housewives and Disney’s Worldwide Outreach.
Seventeen-year-old Katie is a bright young woman with a beautiful smile and a can-do attitude. A straight-A student who loves tennis, Katie admires Maria Sharapova and enjoyed playing tennis herself, prior to the horrific plane crash that took the life of her father, Dr. Michael D’Arcy.
Katie received numerous injuries from the crash, including broken arms, broken legs, a shattered pelvis, and lacerations to her face. During surgery immediately after the crash, she actually expired on the operating table but doctors were able to resuscitate her. Tragically, she was unable to attend her father’s funeral because she remained in a coma days after the accident.
So severe were Katie’s injuries to her pelvis, doctors estimated that she wouldn’t be able to bear weight on her legs for at least five months after the accident, but Katie decided that was too long to wait. In just under three months following the crash, she stood up for the first time, thanks to her immense dedication to recovery and to endless, exhausting hours of daily therapy. Nine long months after she sustained her injuries, Katie was finally able to return to school although she still tired easily.
A family friend from Katie’s church heard about Kids Wish Network and nominated Katie for a wish. Katie and her mother, Kelly, were excited to learn about Kids Wish Network, which is a charitable organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. Kelly contacted the organization, and her brave daughter was soon assigned a wish coordinator named Madeline.
Katie anxiously explained to Madeline that one of her family’s favorite pastimes has long been watching Desperate Housewives together and she relished the thought of attending a taping with her mom and sister. In fact, during the two months Katie spent in the hospital after she awoke from a coma, her friends would gather at her bedside each week to watch the show with her. The camaraderie helped to lift her spirits during her difficult recovery.
Madeline began to assemble an itinerary that would not only make Katie’s wish a reality, but would also reunify a family that had suffered a terrible loss. Madeline contacted many of our loyal friends in California to help make Katie’s wish extraordinary. She knew she could count on a very special Kids Wish Network “guardian angel” at Disney Worldwide Outreach, Cheryl, who coordinated Katie’s visit to the set and provided her with the opportunity to meet her favorite TV stars. Disney has long been a special friend to Kids Wish Network.
The Walt Disney Company works globally with children’s wish-granting organizations around the world to make Disney wishes come true fulfilling over 7,000 wishes annually for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Disney-themed wishes continue to be the most popular requests, including visits to Disney Parks, Disney Cruises, meeting Disney Characters, attending sporting events and visiting TV and movie sets.
Kids Wish Network Press Release, Katie D’Arcy
Kids Wish Network’s wish funding specialist, Donna, immediately went to work securing some very generous local sponsors for Katie’s wish. Between the two Kids Wish Network Coordinators, Katie’s dream was about to come true!
When Katie arrived at the set of Desperate Housewives, she was warmly greeted by the administrative staff at the show’s production offices. Excitement was in the air as she was given a tour of the Wisteria Lane set, prior to the cast’s arrival. She then watched in awe as Eva Longoria exited her trailer and joined fellow cast member, Felicity Huffman on the set. From her vantage point well behind the camera, Katie watched the day’s scenes unfold in front of her, just as she had imagined. After the director yelled, “Cut!” she was first approached by the aforementioned ladies of Wisteria Lane and then by the men, among them Kyle McLaughlin, James Denton, Neal McDonough and Ricardo Antonio Chavira, who all graciously chatted with Katie and her family.
“Ricardo was so nice, and showed me pictures of his kids. Kyle was hilarious, trying to take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen,” Katie told us of her experience on Wisteria Lane. “And Eva Longoria said she thought I was pretty. The whole experience was awesome.”
Madeline thoughtfully arranged for every detail of the family’s trip, including hotel accommodations at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. The family was thrilled to be able to look out their window and see the famous HOLLYWOOD sign in the hills above, and they were made to feel right at home with the warm welcome extended to them by the hotel’s kind staff.
Katie’s adventures included a trip to Universal Studios Theme Park, the Hollywood Wax Museum and a tour of celebrity homes provided by the world-famous Starline Tours. Among Katie’s favorite memories along the tour were the homes of Eva Longoria and Lauren Conrad, as well as the adjacent dwellings of amicable exes, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, and a $30,000/month rental occupied by Michael Jackson. She also got a kick out of seeing the home of Courtney Cox and David Arquette, where their daughter, Coco, had left her tricycle in the family’s driveway.
“It was an amazing trip!” said Kelly. “There had been such a void since Katie’s dad passed. Michael was the one who would plan family trips. I feel like we were really able to bond on this trip because we could just relax and have a good time. Our wish coordinator, Madeline, did such a great job.”
Katie had been so remarkable during her intensive rehabilitation during 2007 that her therapists asked her to develop a motto that she could share with other kids who were having a difficult time with their own recoveries. As one of the positive role models at the rehabilitation center, Katie spoke to other children about how she was able to get through her therapy. She decided to close her speeches with the simple motto she had developed, which not only fit her own situation but also many other kids’ situations: “Accidents happen, but so do miracles.”
It was her experience in helping other children at the rehabilitation center that influenced her goal to become a pediatrician. Kids Wish Network is proud to have granted the wish of a young lady who is sure to be such an inspiration to others.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Katie’s wish extra special: AAA Michigan, A Benefits Group, Inc., Fraternal Order of Eagles, Loyal Order of Moose and Wal-Mart, The renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Disney Worldwide Outreach, Universal Studios, ABD and the cast and Crew of Desperate Housewives, ALS Limousines, California Pizza Kitchen, The Hollywood Wax Museum, Guiness Museum of World Records, Starline Tours, Hard Rock Café – Universal City Walk.