LAKE VILLA, Ill. – A little girl suffering from spina bifida meets her Hollywood Records’ artist “Camp Rock” hero, Demi Lovato, thanks to Kids Wish Network and their friends at Disney.
When a friend told Evelyn’s parents about children’s charity Kids Wish Network, they had no idea just what the organization could do for their little girl, but they decided to give them a call.
Jon and Siriwan’s daughter Evelyn was born with spina bifida, which has left her paralyzed from the knees down. She must use either a wheelchair or arm braces for mobility. In addition, Evelyn has hydrocephalus, which is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. In her 11 years, Evelyn has endured two surgeries: one to place a shunt in her skull to relieve the pressure caused by hydrocephalus as well as surgery to correct her clubfoot.
Kids Wish Network Wish Coordinator Jill was the one to whom Evelyn entrusted her only wish: to meet her favorite rock star and actress, Demi Lovato. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist Doris and some outstanding sponsors, Jill worked her “guardian angel magic” and arranged the wish of a lifetime for Evelyn.
In addition to accommodations at the Radisson on John Deere Commons, Jill organized dinners for Evelyn and her family. Of course, she also worked with Disney to coordinate the meet-and-greet with Demi Lovato, gave Evelyn tickets to Demi’s concert and also threw in some extra surprises for the little girl.
“It was all fantastic,” said Evelyn’s dad, Jon. “It was overwhelming, really.”
On the day that Evelyn was meeting Demi, Jill arranged for her to visit the Southpark Mall to pick out a brand new outfit to wear to the concert! According to Evelyn, she knew the dress that she wanted as soon as she saw it: a zebra-striped dress with a hot pink sash. She picked it out especially to wear with her matching hot pink Converse shoes, “just like in Demi Lovato’s song,” where she sings the line “Who said I can’t wear my Converse with my dress?”
Evelyn was also given the star treatment at the Serenity Salon & Day Spa where she was pampered and made over just for her big night. “It was a great surprise,” said Jon.
Finally, in a whirlwind of activity, Evelyn found herself being led backstage in her brand new outfit to meet Demi Lovato. According to Jon, “Demi was really sweet. Evelyn loved it!”
On meeting her favorite star, Evelyn could only say, “It was so awesome!”
Evelyn gave Demi a special hat as a present while the young rock star signed autographs and took pictures with one of her biggest fans. Following the meeting, the stage manager gave Evelyn a few of Demi’s personal guitar picks and posed her with Demi’s favorite guitar for some choice photographs.
It was like the icing on an already perfect cake when Evelyn got to meet the two other artists who were touring with Demi Lovato: “American Idol” runner-up David Archuleta and singing sensation Jordan Pruitt, both of whom signed autographs and spent some time with the star-struck little girl. David Archuleta even signed one of her arm braces.
“I had so much fun,” said Evelyn. “It was all awesome!”
Since her return from her wish trip, Evelyn has told everyone at school about her meeting with Demi Lovato and she will keep talking about it for years to come. This really was a dream come true for one special little girl.
For helping to make Evelyn’s wish extra special, Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following: Disney, Demi Lovato, American Legion Post 911, Radisson on John Deere Commons, i Wireless Center, Bass Street Chop House, Serenity Salon & Day Spa, Miss Mamies, Dillards, rue21 and Celebration River Cruises.
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