ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Children’s charity Kids Wish Network recently sent 3 year old Airrian Smith, who is suffering from a life-threatening illness, on an all expenses paid trip to Disneyland to fulfill her fondest wish. Kids Wish Network is an international charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations.
“There is no joy quite like that of a child who has just had their fondest wish granted,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Anna Lanzatella. “It is our honor and privilege to be able to make these precious dreams come true.”
When asked what she wanted for her wish, it came as no surprise to her mom that 3 year old Airrian wanted to visit Disneyland: “She’s a Disney girl,” said Celina Holmes-Smith of her daughter. “She’s 100 percent Disney princess.”
This chance to have her wish granted was given to Airrian through Kids Wish Network because of a condition that has affected her health since she was an infant.
As a baby, Airrian was very clumsy and often felt pain in her legs. Earlier this year, she began having drop attacks where her legs would give out for no reason. She was diagnosed with a cyst or cavity in her spinal cord – called syringomyelia – and was rushed into surgery. A second MRI showed that Airrian also had a condition called Chiari malformation, in which a portion of the brain protrudes into the spinal column.
She underwent another surgery to remove a section of the base of her skull to relieve some of the built-up pressure, as well as yet another surgery to open a bigger section of her skull. Airrian currently attends both physical and occupational therapy and sometimes requires the use of a walker.
For her wish, Kids Wish Network arranged an all expenses paid trip to California for Airrian and her family, complete with visits to Disneyland and Sea World, as well as a stay at Ayers Hotel and dinners at local restaurants every evening.
“It was a well-needed vacation and we had a blast,” said Celina. “Airrian was just ecstatic. She was overwhelmed with joy!”
Airrian loved everything about her trip, especially riding on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and visiting penguins at Sea World. However, Airrian’s favorite experience was meeting Princess Cinderella in person.
“Being able to spend time as a family without doctors, therapies, and treatments was so comforting for all of us,” said Celina. “It was an awesome wish. I could not have asked for anything better and we can’t thank Kids Wish Network enough. There’s no words to describe all they’ve done for us as a family.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for making Airrian’s all expenses paid trip and wish so spectacular: Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Captain Kidd’s Restaurant, Ayers Hotel, Bubba Gump’s Shrimp House Restaurant, Thrifty Rent A Car, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure, and Sea World San Diego.
For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit www.kidswishnetwork.org.
Every child deserves a chance at happiness; a wish is a way of bringing them that joy. If you would like to sponsor a child’s wish or if you know a child who is suffering from a life-threatening illness and may be in need of Kids Wish Network’s wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004.