MERCEDES, Texas – A little girl suffering from a life-threatening illness has her wish to visit Disneyland granted through Kids Wish Network.
Five-year-old Xianelli suffers from a genetic disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Her muscles don’t receive the signals that her brain is sending to them, so she is very weak and unable to walk or use her hands very well. Her lungs are affected so she must use a ventilator and a suction machine, and her oxygen level must be monitored. She has a tracheotomy tube in place and is unable to speak without the help of a computer-aided system. She is fed through a tube and feeding pump. Xianelli is confined to a wheelchair and has developed scoliosis.
It was a Kids Wish Network professional fundraiser who first called Xianelli’s parents and let them know about the charity’s mission to grant wishes to children who are facing life-threatening illnesses. Xianelli’s parents were excited to learn that their daughter qualified for a wish of her own and were soon talking to Kids Wish Network Wish Coordinator, Vanessa.
Vanessa found out that little Xianelli wanted nothing more than a fabulous vacation to California and to visit Disneyland with her family, but Vanessa was able to arrange so much more.
After enlisting the help of Kids Wish Network’s Wish Funding Specialist Doris, together they found sponsors that could really help to make Xianelli’s trip an unforgettable family experience. Vanessa arranged for Xianelli and her family to visit Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure and Universal Studios.
“Everything was lots of fun,” said Xianelli’s father, Omar. “Vanessa did great. Everything went really smooth. It was really a lot of fun.”
At Disney, Xianelli truly had the time of her young life. Some particular favorites of Xianelli’s were experiencing “It’s a Small World”, watching the Aladdin show and riding the Buzz Lightyear ride. She even got to meet Cinderella and Mickey Mouse!
“She was excited the whole time,” said Omar.
At Universal Studios, Omar said that his daughter was thrilled to meet her favorite character of all time: Spongebob Squarepants.
Of course, after such excitement, it came as no surprise that the little five-year-old did not want to return to Texas. “When we told her it was time to pack and go home, she was unhappy.”
It was more than a dream come true for Xianelli, it was a wish granted for her parents as well.
According to Omar, “Everybody was really kind and courteous. We couldn’t have done any of it without you [at Kids Wish Network].”
For making Xianelli’s wish extra special, Kids Wish Network would like to thank: Hart Management, Catholic War Veterans, J.L. Refrigeration LP, Disneyland Compassion Program, Ayres Inn Orange, Universal Studios California, Captain Kidd’s Restaurant, Fuddruckers, and the Hard Rock Café.
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