LAKEWOOD, Ohio – A sweet little girl who lives with a multitude of medical problems got to experience life as a princess at Disney World, thanks to a little guardian angel magic from Kids Wish Network.
Eight-year-old Danielle is a “girly-girl” who loves the color pink and collects purses, lip gloss, tiaras and magic wands. Her favorite shows are Hannah Montana and High School Musical (HSM), and her favorite toy is an HSM Gabriella doll. She loves to dance along with her videos of HSM, Barney, and of course, all the Disney princesses.
Danielle was born with Down Syndrome, but the majority of her medical problems started only a couple of years ago. She was hospitalized for pneumonia when she was six, during which time she was also diagnosed with diabetes and a blood clotting disorder. Months later, she suffered a stroke, which was caused by an extremely rare disorder called Moyamoya disease. The disease causes a narrowing of the blood vessels in the area of her neck and leading into her head. She had to undergo two surgeries to bypass blocked arteries that had prevented proper oxygenated blood flow to her brain.
Danielle faces future surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids to alleviate sleep apnea, a disorder that causes her to sometimes stop breathing while asleep. Throughout all the medical procedures and hospitalizations, Danielle has remained true to her positive attitude and she smiles through most of her treatments.
A friend of the family referred Danielle’s mother, Jennifer, to Kids Wish Network, a charitable organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. Jennifer was excited to discover that her daughter who has endured so much in so few years was eligible for whatever her heart desired.
When wish coordinator, Jen, called to determine what Danielle wanted more than anything in the world, she discovered that Danielle wanted to meet her favorite princesses and Barney in person. Jen enlisted the help of Doris, a wish funding specialist who secured sponsors to help make this brave little girl’s wish extra special. Together, they arranged for tickets for Danielle and her family to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios, as well as a hotel stay at the wonderful Royal Plaza Hotel and dinner arrangements at local restaurants.
Danielle was alight with joy as she met all the characters from her videos: Barney, the princesses, the fairies, even Shrek and Donkey. She danced at her seat in the front row of the Barney show, and she really enjoyed participating in the Pirates Adventure Theater. She got to add to her collection of make-up and magic wands, both at the theme parks and with the huge box of goodies that Kids Wish Network sent to her.
“In true Danielle style, she organized all the things she received from Kids Wish Network like her make-up, lip glosses and princess goodies, and then lined up the dolls and named them after kids in her class,” Jennifer explained. “It all meant so much to her.”
Jennifer said it is hard to put into words exactly how much this trip meant to Danielle and her family. “I was in tears as she met one princess after the next, and then the fairies. It was so special because they each took time to talk to her. Danielle picked out her bright yellow shirt to wear that morning, and everyone kept complimenting her on it. Since we’ve been home, she comes in from school and relives her memories as she watches the videos that we took of her meeting all the characters. We couldn’t have asked for more.”
This very deserving little girl and her family brought home memories that will last a lifetime, and Kids Wish Network is pleased to have been able to grant a wish that made her so happy.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Danielle’s wish extra special: Ms. Carla Cavanaugh, Junior Womens Club of Lakewood, Bob Evans of Brook Park, Royal Plaza Hotel, Compassion Partners, Pirates Dinner Adventure, WonderWorks and California Pizza Kitchen.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at www.kidswishnetwork.org