Fredrick, MD- A little girl with sickle cell anemia has the Disney adventure of her life with a little help from Kids Wish Network.
Though nervous about her first plane ride, Sasha knew that she would have the most wonderful time on her first trip to Walt Disney World. She had been counting down for weeks; finally, it was time for her wish to be granted and she was more than ready.
Sasha has sickle cell anemia. This is a blood disorder in which the body produces abnormal hemoglobin, causing many difficulties including severe pain crises, a higher risk for infection and possible organ failure. Sasha endures extremely serious pain episodes, is on medications and has been in and out of the hospital most of her young life. It was there in the hospital where Sasha’s wish began. Through conversations with other parents at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Sasha’s mother, Valerie, found out about Kids Wish Network, an organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. Here was her chance to give something wonderful to her courageous little girl; Valerie referred her daughter, who was soon assigned her very own Wish Coordinator.
It was this Wish Coordinator, Jill, who found out that Sasha’s fondest wish was to visit Walt Disney World. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist, Doris, and some outstanding sponsors, Sasha’s trip to Orlando was organized in style. Starting with tickets to every park that Sasha had dreamed of visiting, Jill arranged some extra magic including a stay at the marvelous Royal Plaza Hotel and dinner at the Pirates Dinner Theater!
“It was definitely a dream come true,” says Valerie, Sasha’s mother. “Sasha had a countdown to when she was going, she was that excited!”
Sasha and her family visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot Center. Everywhere she went, Sasha was given “the royal treatment” and her smile could not have been any wider. She was in awe of the famous Disney fireworks and parades and was thrilled with the excitement of the rides. Sasha even got the chance to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa, where she really got a kick out of the treehouse in the “Land of the Dragons.”
“It was so great! Everybody was nice…anything we needed, they gave us!” According to her mother, Sasha was surprised even at the hotel with a present waiting for her: a Piglet stuffed animal of her very own! “Jill was great,” said Valerie of Sasha’s Wish Coordinator. “We really appreciate it [the wish].”
Now that she’s back in Maryland, Sasha is “definitely letting all her friends know” about her wish. In fact, Sasha wore her Kids Wish Network pin along with her official “First Disney Visit” button to her first day back at school! Sasha had a wonderful wish and nobody could be happier than Jill and the people at Kids Wish Network for having made a little girl’s fondest dream come true.
For making Sasha’s wish super special, Kids Wish Network would like to thank: AirTran Airways, Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater, Compassion Partners, Royal Plaza Hotel, WonderWorks, Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at www.kidswishnetwork.org