WATERLOO — A girl with a life-threatening illness has had her wish to visit California’s Disneyland granted by national children’s charity Kids Wish Network and sponsors.
Tessa Anderson, 13, has spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when a portion of the spinal column fails to develop and close properly.
Her mother, Sarah, referred her daughter to the national children’s charity Kids Wish Network. Tessa had wished for a trip to Disneyland, in Anaheim, Calif.
Along with suffering from spina bifida, she also battles massive hydrocephalus, which is where the cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the skull. That condition requires Tessa to have a shunt — a surgically placed tube that allows the excess fluid to be released out of the brain — and she likely will need it for the rest of her life. Tessa has experienced seven brain surgeries as well as a surgery to close her spinal column.
“On more than one occasion tears came to my eyes because of how special they (the wish sponsors) made her feel. When people see Tessa, they know that she is special,” said Sarah, upon her and Tessa’s return from California.
The family was treated to a stay in San Diego, Calif., at the Catamaran Resort & Spa. At Disneyland, Tessa got Chip & Dale’s autograph, and at SeaWorld, she got kisses from a walrus through the display glass.