Indiana 6-year-old with life-threatening illness has dream come true

DEMOTTE, Ind: For 6-year-old Laila Hamstra of DeMotte, IN, hospitals and doctors’ offices are extremely common destinations. Diagnosed with a life-threatening condition at birth, Laila suffers through frequent complications as a result. But recently, thanks to children’s charity Kids Wish Network, Laila was whisked away to her dream destination: Disney World.

“We are so thankful that Laila got her wish,” said Angela Hamstra, Laila’s mom.

Born at just 25 weeks with a grade 4 brain bleed, Laila was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after a CAT scan revealed that only half of her brain had developed. Laila spent her first four months in the hospital and frequently returns.

Laila has suffered from severe kidney stones, had surgery on her eyes, received Botox injections to help loosen her stiff and rigid muscles, is wheelchair bound, and utilizes a g-tube for feeding. She also has an extremely weak immune system and is in constant danger of contracting an infection. To help with her condition, Laila attends physical, occupational and speech therapies six times a week.

Despite all her obstacles, Laila is a joyful little girl who was ecstatic to spend five whole days filled with fun instead of her usual doctor appointments. Kids Wish Network sent Laila and the Hamstra family on a once-in-a-lifetime experience to Disney World where they stayed at luxurious accommodations, dined at entertaining restaurants, and smiled from ear-to-ear.

Laila loved meeting her favorite Disney Princess, Cinderella, and experiencing the wheelchair-friendly Seven Dwarfs Ride; she enjoyed it so much, she rode it seven times.

Minnie Ears

“It meant so much that Laila was able to go on the rides,” recalls Angela. “Disney World was not only the happiest place but also the most accessible.”

Thanks to Wish sponsors Tony Roma’s and Once Upon A Party, Laila was also able to meet Princess Cinderella for a second time at one of her specifically-planned dinners.

“Cinderella was the sweetest with Laila,” adds Angela. “She just sat and talked and colored with her. Laila was so happy; I had tears in my eyes. Thank you all so much.”

Kids Wish Network would like to thank all the generous Guardian Angel sponsors that helped make Laila’s dream come true: Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, Compassion Partners Program, Once Upon A Party, Tony Roma’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Splitsville Luxury Lanes, and National Car Rentals.

Sadly, Laila was back in the hospital just a few short weeks after her wish. Laila suffered another bout of pneumonia with a collapsed lung and bladder infection.

Kids Wish Network is a nationwide charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Please visit to help make a child’s dream come true or to refer a child you know that is suffering from a life-threatening illness.


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