Guest Blog Submitted by: Ali DiPaolo (Mother of Wish Kid Lux DiPaolo)

A few months ago, my 3.5 year old daughter, and cancer warrior, Lux, declared she was going to be a Princess when she grew up. I tried to explain she could be a Princess and something else as well, her response, “ok…I guess I will also be a Queen.” Needless to say, Disney World was a dream come true.

We truly didn’t expect anything like this, I applied to Kids Wish Network while I was sitting in the hospital waiting for Lux’s MIGB scan to be over. This was the first time Lux was old enough to really remember the hospital, and it was particularly hard for her. I wanted to do something that would lift her up and make her understand how special she is for facing cancer at such a young age. When we found out KWN was sending her and our family to Disney, it was surreal. I think the kids had the same feeling when it was revealed at Lux’s dance recital. They didn’t know what to think, but quickly started to understand. We had to explain to Lux several times that she was getting a special treat because she had been so sick and so brave. This has resulted in her “wishing” other children get cancer so they can go too, so…we are still working on truly understanding.

When the day finally came, we were all excited. Lux had never been on a plane, and was a little nervous, but her big brother showed her the ropes. When we arrived, the kids were most impressed with the palm trees and the lights in the fountain at the airport. However, those were quickly forgotten once we got to the DoubleTree.

The staff at the DoubleTree went above and beyond. They came out to greet Lux like she was a celebrity, with balloons and a huge sign signed by everyone. There were more surprises waiting in the room, which was the penthouse and double the size of my first apartment. Toys for the kids, and more candy than they could ever eat, although they made a good effort. For my husband and I, having our own room was a welcome relief. The kids were thrilled with room service, and they probably would have eaten at the hotel every night.

After a good night sleep and a huge breakfast at the buffet (which the DoubleTree treated us to everyday), we set off for Disney. Now, I’m not going to lie, it was brutally hot and humid and there was a point where we were waiting to get into the park where I thought ‘is this worth it?’ It was, 100 times over, seeing Lux and her brother Porter see the castle and the parade was worth every sweaty second. We rode a few rides, Buzz Lightyear, It’s a Small World and my kids’ favorite The Teacups. After a quick lunch, we set off for my favorite part of the day, a princess makeover.

Lux declared she didn’t need a makeover, as she was already a princess, but after seeing the dress options, she quickly changed her mind. She went for Tinkerbell with a princess bun. The Fairy Godmothers did her hair, nails and make up. Lux was in her element, and I couldn’t help but get teary watching her. It’s in moments like this I can’t help but think, “what if we lost her” and “what if we missed this.” It’s bittersweet sometimes to see Lux so happy because of all the “what ifs” we will always live with. Once I pulled myself together, I took Tinkerbell to meet up with Porter, who had been getting a Pirate makeover, and apparently got married to one of the wenches. Porter assured me the marriage wasn’t valid outside Disney. We ended the day with fried chicken, donuts and Lux’s favorite, pasta with only cheese on it, at Homecomin’.

Day two we headed to Epcot and most importantly Anna and Elsa. The first stop was the Frozen Ever After Ride, and then a visit with the Princesses themselves. Lux was totally enthralled, she couldn’t believe she was meeting the real Princesses. Her brother wasn’t positive they were the real Anna and Elsa, but he was open to the idea. Next up was lunch with ALL the Princesses. This lunch may have solidified Lux’s future plans to be a Princess. We headed back to the hotel so the kids could swim and rest before we went out that night. After a dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp, where we had more shrimp then I could have imagined, and Lux had her favorite, again, pasta, we skipped dessert and headed to the Contemporary Hotel at Disney for a pirate adventure. We started with unlimited dessert, and then headed out to the pirate boat to watch the fireworks over the castle. We ended the trip with a visit from Peter Pan who was very happy to see Tinkerbell, as Lux was wearing her dress again.

Our last day we spent at Hollywood Studios. We went to a dance party with Mickey, a sing-along with Anna and Elsa, and saw how India Jones does all those stunts.

Our family had an amazing trip, and we are so grateful for this opportunity. Watching Lux and her brother light up at seeing a world they have only watched on TV was magical. We have spent so much time just surviving the past few years, and this trip was a reminder that we will need to take time to have fun and build memories. This was a trip we will never forget.

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https://www.kidswishnetwork.org/2019/08/guest-blog-submitted-by-ali-dipaolo-mother-of-wish-kid-lux-dipaolo/



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