A 15-year-old living with a life-threatening illness had her wish to visit the Grand Ole Opry granted by national children’s charity Kids Wish Network.
Danielle was born with Spina Bifida and Scoliosis. Spina Bifida is one of a group of birth defects called neural tube defects which affects the spinal cord. Danielle has had various surgeries in her life, including a procedure to put a rod in her back. This resulted in a serious infection which left Danielle in the hospital for over five months. She has no feeling from her knees down and relies on a wheelchair for mobility.
A neighbor and close friend of the family decided to refer Danielle to Kids Wish Network in hopes that she would qualify for a wish. Before long, Danielle was talking to wish coordinator Vanessa, who confirmed that Danielle’s one wish was to travel to Tennessee to visit the Grand Ole Opry.
“She likes country music. She is my little country girl,” said Danielle’s mom, Colleen.
With help from Wish Funding Specialist Doris, Vanessa made arrangements for Danielle and her family to travel for the wish. A round trip flight, hotel stay, various dining arrangements, spending money and plenty of entertainment were included in Danielle’s wish.
“I wanted to make this wish special for Danielle because she is a special girl,” said Vanessa. “I wanted to give her a memory that would last a lifetime.”
Danielle’s visit to the Opryland Resort was full of entertainment. She watched “A Country Christmas” lighting ceremony, “ICE!” featuring Charlie Brown Christmas sculptures and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the “Rockettes.”
“It was so much fun and we got to see the Christmas lighting ceremony,” said Colleen. “Eddie Montgomery [from country group Montgomery Gentry] hosted it and came down after and signed some stuff for Danielle. It made her cry.”
Colleen said that seeing the Rockettes was amazing and the after show was great, too.
“We got to go backstage and meet the Rockettes,” she said.
According to Danielle, the best part of this wish for her was meeting all the celebrities. Aside from meeting Eddie Montgomery, Danielle talked with Paula Dean and an upcoming country star who was filming a video on the street Danielle and her family happened to be walking on.
“We saw a new upcoming artist who was filming a video. He took time out to take a picture with Danielle which made her feel special,” Colleen said.
The family said the whole wish was great and that they had such a good time they didn’t want to leave.
“Danielle didn’t want to leave. Neither did I,” Colleen said. “We thought we could live in the city. The People were very friendly and the hospitality was great.”
Colleen said that she was so happy to see her daughter’s wish come true and that she was thrilled that Danielle has a wonderful memory to keep.
As for Danielle, she said her wish came true.
“I had a blast,” she said.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Danielle’s wish extra special: , Blair Police Officers Association, Herman Community Church, Peck Manufacturing Company, Nebraska State Troopers Association, VFW Washington County Post 1251, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Nashville Zoo, Wildhorse Saloon, General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Opryland Resort, Jack’s BBQ, Pancake Pantry, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Old Spaghetti Factory