Kid Wish Network and Dancing with the Stars Pair up for Michigan Girl and Receive a Perfect Score


“Everyone at Kids Wish Network and Dancing with the Stars went above and beyond. They made Grace feel so special.”

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 finalsAnd 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.”

Celebrity Sponsors

We extend special thanks to the celebrities that make this Wish come true!

Lindsay Arnold

Lindsay Arnold Cusick is an American professional Latin and ballroom dancer. She was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. She is a professional dancer and choreographer on Dancing with the Stars. 

Gleb Savchenko

Gleb Savchenko is a Russian dancer and choreographer, who is currently a professional dancer on the U.S. version of Dancing with the Stars. He previously appeared on the UK, Australian, and Russian versions of the show. In 2016, Savchenko took part in the British television cooking show Celebrity MasterChef.

Sharna Burgess

Sharna May Burgess is an Australian ballroom dancer who is best known for being a professional partner and troupe member on the ABC series Dancing with the Stars. She is the winner of season 27 of Dancing with the Stars with her celebrity partner, Bobby Bones and a three time runner-up on the show. 

1 Response

  1. admin

    Guest Blog By: Elizabeth (Met Grace on the plane on way to Dancing with the Stars wish)

    I never thought on a 6 am flight that I would meet such an incredible human.

    When I boarded my plane I took the last window seat in the very back of the plane. I was headed out to Los Angeles on a work trip. Once I settled into my seat the flight attendant reserved the two seats next to me saying that a girl and her mom where traveling together. Once Grace and her mom sat down we started chatting almost instantly.

    We started chatting about where we were from, and where we were traveling to. Her mom explained to me they were traveling to Los Angeles to see a live show of Dancing With The Stars. She told me the only way this was possible was because Kids Wish Network sponsored her. She explained to me the many health challenges and difficulties Grace has faced during her life.

    But Grace has overcame so many of these challenges and continues to, and she is only eight years old. Before we landed Grace gave me a Kindness Rock. It’s from an online group that’s committed to spreading kind words, and bettering peoples days. I almost burst into tears.

    I was wearing my Giving Key necklace that morning with the word ‘Courage’ on it. Giving Key is a “pay it forward” jewelry company. You choose a word to stamp onto your piece of jewelry that you wish to embrace, and then you pass the piece of jewelry on once you’ve either embraced that word or meet someone who you think needs that word. I was given the word courage when I decided to enroll into culinary school.

    Grace doesn’t need courage, because she wears it so easily. I gave her my necklace because she has inspired me to be more courageous. Grace and her mom showed incredible kindness to me on that short four hour flight. Grace is kind, she is strong, and she is brave. And I’m positive she shows the same kindness to everyone she meets. I was so fortunate enough to meet them.