It was just days before Christmas vacation 2008, and James and Sandra Gronley couldn’t figure out what was wrong with their little girl Kayla.
“She developed achiness in her hips, dark circles under her eyes, a fever every night, and she was grouchy,” her mother said of the then kindergartener from Lake Arrowhead. “We thought it was because she was tired from school.”
Kayla was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. She’s been out of school receiving treatment ever since. It was the week from hell for the Gronley family.
Just two days earlier, her father, James Sr., was diagnosed with a 17-centimeter cancerous mass attached to his heart.
But lately, things have been looking up.
The Gronleys returned July 26 from a five-day, four-night vacation at Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando, Fla. The trip was arranged and funded by Kids Wish Network, which granted Kayla’s only wish: To hang out with princesses from Disney.
“Her thing is princesses,” said Sandra.
During the trip, Kayla, now 6, got to meet and bond with Belle of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Sleeping Beauty.”
She had seen the movies so many times, she could almost recite them (so could mom, Sandra).
And there’s more good news.
Both James Sr. and Kayla are in remission, although dad has a tiny spot on his lung that doctors want to keep and eye on.
James Sr. is expected to be allowed to return to work in October, and Kayla, who can comb her hair again, will return to school in the fall.
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Lake Arrowhead, California