Sophie says that her favorite part of the wish was swimming with Mermaid Amara.
A Guest blog by April, the mother of Wish Kid Sophie who had a truly once-in-a-lifetime Wish Granted in Charlotte, NC.
The Carolina Raptor Center was awesome. We were able to shadow Dr. Scott and one of his assistants. Sophie got to see how their morning began from preparing the raptors (birds of prey) food, checking on all the patients on the computer to see what they all needed, and she even got to sit and watch a red tail hawk have surgery on his talon. Sophie literally sat on a stool at the surgical table and watched. Once the hawk was sedated she was able to listen to his heartbeat by a stethoscope. We also got to see how the hawks and owls had physical therapy.
At Sea Life Charlotte we got a behind the scene tour, before it opened to the public, with their curator Mr. Dave. He was very knowledgeable and we learned so much that you don’t usually get during a regular tour. We learned about the animals, and how they take care of them. We learned how important it is to know which sea creatures can live in the same aquarium together and that they try to use biological deterrents rather than chemical agents to eliminate harmful organisms when possible. We also got to meet and spend time with their Vet, Dr. Sam. We got to see the laboratory and a view of the large shark aquarium from the top.
Sophie says that she honestly loved both the Carolina Raptor Center and Sea Life. Her favorite thing about the Carolina Raptor Center was when one of the owls did a “shimmy shake” type of move when her brother Brodie was helping with physical therapy.
Her favorite thing at Sea Life Charlotte was seeing the turtle “Neptune” lying on his face as he slept. Her favorite thing about Mermaid Amara was learning about mermaid life because Sophie asked her A LOT of questions, which Amara gladly answered.
First of all everything was wonderful. Wish Coordinator Cassi really pulled off an amazing trip for a little girl that told her she loved mermaids, unicorns, and animals, and hoped to be a vet. Everyone we met was genuinely friendly. But two things really stand out:
- The Ritz Carlton Charlotte staff all went above and beyond. They gave Sophie a gracious “staff welcome,” of two formed lines. A lot of them were dressed up with unicorn accessories. They were very helpful, always making sure we had what we needed. They also decorated our room, and gave Sophie a welcome present. One of the staff drew a mermaid on a large card that they signed. Her present was a pink shirt that said “Unicorns and Mermaids” and a Sofia the mermaid toy doll set. Then after Sophie swam with the mermaid Amara in their pool at the spa, the spa left her a card, and beautiful shell necklace with a pearl inside of it. They also left purple and blue mermaid fin macaroons filled with jelly that were delicious. Then the night before we were heading home, they left her a farewell gift. A very sweet card and a unicorn garden set.
- One of the managers at the Ritz Carlton Charlotte saw us in the Bar Cocoa having a sweet treat. She asked our very picky 6 year old son if he liked dinner. He told her he didn’t eat because he only likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She called him in one on her phone and sent it up to our room for him. The pastry chef gave us a box of macaroons to bring home after Sophie helped her prepare them. She also got to keep her apron and chef hat.
Sophie says she liked both restaurants food. And she really liked how Flemings made her a menu that stated “Dr. Sophie” and it had a dog and cat on it. We got to keep that. At BLT Steak our waiter really went out of his way to take good care of us. Both places were wonderful.
I believe this wish helped her “recharge” if you will. It came at a well needed time. Summer is hard for Sophie because this is her 2nd one that she cannot run, ride her bike, play on park playgrounds, and so much more. This has been a huge change for Sophie and our family, but especially Sophie. She was a completely healthy little girl from the time she was born until March 2016. Sophie used to ice-skate, take gymnastics, play soccer, and so much more. We were a very active family. We enjoyed going to museums, and science centers. Now we have to be so careful because she is on an immunosuppressant. She can’t even play in a water sprinkler anymore. She can’t stand without her braces on, and those braces fit in 1 type of shoe, New Balance tennis shoes. Which are great, but for my little girl, she loved wearing sandals and flip flops. This has been a huge change for her. Now her days are filled with stretching, exercises, physical therapy and traveling some days an hour to see one of her specialists. Sophie says this wish has shown her that she can still do things. She loves learning.
Our favorite part of this wish was seeing her with Mermaid Amara. She has wanted to see and meet a real mermaid for a long time. She has prayed about that. Mermaid Amara was wonderful. She also gave Sophie a mermaid crown, necklace, sea jewels, a conch shell, and finger nail polishes. She also gave Sophie blank cards so she could write her to let her know how she is doing. That really meant a lot to Sophie!
Thank you so much for everything!