“Everyone at Kids Wish Network and Dancing with the Stars went above and beyond. They made Grace feel so special.”
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (December 2017): Grace’s name perfectly suits her love of dance – she is especially inspired watching her favorite show Dancing with the Stars. Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life threatening illnesses, paired up with Dancing with the Stars, choreographing a spectacular wish winning a perfect score.
Grace has been struggling with medical conditions including a congenital heart defect, an immune deficiency, as well as situs inversus, a congenital condition in which the major visceral organs are reversed or mirrored from their normal positions. “We know that Grace will still need another heart surgery and has ongoing immune globulin therapy,” said Grace’s mom Melissa. There’s a lot of stress and ongoing health issues for her.”
For this once-in-a-lifetime wish, Kids Wish Network flew Grace and her mom to Los Angeles to see her favorite superstars perform at a taping of Dancing with the Stars semi finals… And Grace would feel like one too. They were chauffeured by First Class Luxury Limousine to the CBS Television City studio, and were welcomed by a private guide for a behind the scenes all access VIP star-studded experience. It was still daytime, but the stars were already out and shining bright for Grace. She immediately met pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy and celebrity contestants Victoria Arlen and Drew Scott. Grace then visited the costumes trailer, spending time with Costume Supervisor Howard Sussman. He showed her all of the cast’s intricate costumes, and kindly gifted Grace with a beautiful bracelet.
The tour continued with visits to the hair and makeup trailers, where the show’s celebrities and dancers receive their glamorous makeovers. Grace also received her own star treatment being pampered by beauty artists and stylists. “I got my hair and makeup done just like the dancers on the show,” said Grace. While in the makeup trailer, she also met pro dancer Jenna Johnson and pro partners Gleb Savchenko and Emma Slater. “Emma sat next to her and talked and laughed with Grace,” said her mom. “She was sweet to me and made me feel special,” said Grace.”
Grace was so excited meeting her favorite pro partner dancer Sharna Burgess in her trailer. “Sharna gave Grace big hugs, an autograph and spent time talking with her,” said Grace’s mom. “Sharna was so sweet and kind. While touring, we met several other pro partner dancers as well, and they were all so thoughtful. They truly made Grace feel like a star.”
After experiencing all of the backstage excitement, dancing took center stage. Grace loved watching the routines and seeing the scenes being set up before each performance. Her mom said, “We had great seats, and some of the pro partners recognized Grace and waved to her before their dances began.”
After the show, Grace joined the cast on the dance floor. She also met celebrity Jordan Fisher and pro partner Lindsay Arnold, who have since been crowned the season’s champions, winning the coveted mirror ball trophy. “Lindsay was really nice and pretty!” said Grace.
“Grace has been through so many challenges with her health, and we’re so appreciative to everyone at Dancing with the Stars for creating such an extraordinary dream come true and giving Grace such an amazing experience,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Anna Lanzatella. “Dancing with the Stars made Grace’s wish so meaningful and full of happy memories that she’ll always treasure.”
During the wish, Grace and her mom also enjoyed luxurious accommodations at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills. “It was wonderful having some time away to just focus on having fun and seeing Grace feel carefree like a normal kid,” said Grace’s mom. “She lights up when she tells people about the trip. Everyone at Kids Wish Network and Dancing with the Stars went above and beyond. They made Grace feel so special.”