Jeffretta Splunge was diagnosed at age 8 with a rare form of kidney disease, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming of the chance to see a movie star.
Although she didn’t see one in person, Jeffretta, now a Jefferson Davis High School junior, did get to see where the stars live when she and her family visited California late last month.
The trip to Disneyland and other tourist attractions near Hollywood was made possible through Kids Wish Network and the help of local agencies and groups.
Florida-based Kids Wish Network grants wishes to children ages 3 to 18 with life-threatening conditions, who never have had a wish granted before through any organization and who can communicate, by any means, their wish, coordinator Jill Atchison said.
Jeffretta was diagnosed with focal segmental glomulersclerosis, which causes severe scarring of the kidneys’ filtering system. In Jeffretta’s case, the disease affects both kidneys.
Although she has not had a kidney transplant yet, doctors have told her one is inevitable.
Jeffretta currently is taking 12 different medications to help control the disease, and her mother, Musette Hankins, said her daughter is doing well.
But Hankins thought a change of scenery would help her 16-year-old daughter cope better, so she contacted Kids Wish Network.
“She has just been through so much with being sick,” her mother said. “She deserves to get away.”
And get away she did. Her family, including her mother, father, three sisters and brother, spent five days in Hollywood and Anaheim, Calif.
Along with Disneyland, they visited Universal Studios, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Madame Tussauds of Hollywood wax museum.
“It was a lot of fun,” Jeffretta said. “We did a lot of things. My favorites were going to Disneyland and the walk of fame.”
Her mother had fun on the trip, too, but what she’s enjoyed most has been seeing a change in her daughter since they returned to Montgomery.
“My thing is before we went on the trip, she stayed in her room and didn’t want to go anywhere,” she said. Her mother said she has been going out more often now.
The trip gave Jeffretta and her family a chance to clear their heads, Hankins said.
“This gave her the uplift that she needed,” she said.