“All my dreams are coming true!”
When Mirissa was born, she had a hole in her spine. She was diagnosed with spina bifida, a birth defect with an incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. It was a very stressful time… Mirissa had two surgeries in the first week of her life, and she remained in the NICU until she was a month old. Mirissa also suffers from Chiari malformation, a condition where brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. It occurs when part of the skull is misshapen, pressing on the brain and forcing it downward.
At 3 years old, Mirissa underwent an additional surgery. Walking is also very painful for her – she describes the sensation as having bricks strapped to her feet. Yet Mirissa was determined to take ballet classes, and worked her way out of a wheelchair to dance. She continues ballet, physical therapy and has recently started tap. Mirissa also attends a special kindergarten to assist with her cognitive delays. Due to bouts of dizziness, she has limitations participating in certain activities.
Mirissa loves everything Disney, and wished to visit Minnie Mouse’s house and see her pretty kitchen. Kids Wish Network flew Mirissa and her family to Orlando for a fun Florida vacation where she would experience “The most magical place on Earth.”
Mirissa’s experience at the Magic Kingdom was more than she imagined. She actually got to meet Minnie Mouse and “cried tears of pure joy,” said her mom Miranda. Disney also gifted the family with a Memory Maker package to help capture Mirissa’s special magic at Walt Disney World. During Mirissa’s wish she said, “All my dreams are coming true!”
The family enjoyed beautiful accommodations at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas – Lake Buena Vista Orlando. They also experienced an animated Disney character breakfast at the Lakeview Restaurant and dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.
“The wish was amazing,” said Mirissa’s mom. “The hotel and all the restaurants were wonderful. Everything was spectacular!”
Mirissa will still experience challenges, but her memories of “the most magical place on Earth” and meeting her favorite mouse will continue to bring her happiness.