KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Oct. 21, 2014): In a few short months, 6-year-old Braelyn Ussery will reach a milestone in her recovery process: her one-year surgery anniversary. And thanks to children’s charity Kids Wish Network, the Knoxville, Iowa, child got to celebrate this big event with a magical wish trip to Disney World.
“Braelyn was glowing the entire week and had an amazing time,” recalls mom Heather Ussery.
But the road to this happy place has been extremely bumpy for the family. In November 2012, Braelyn began acting lethargic, slurring her words, and experienced loss of muscle control. A CT scan revealed a large mass at the base of Braelyn’s brainstem. After an MRI and three excruciating days of waiting, Braelyn was diagnosed with a large cavernous angioma; the mass was a blood-filled tumor that was slowly bleeding out causing Braelyn’s symptoms.
Because of the size and location of the tumor, doctors didn’t recommend surgery. And since the bleeding had stopped, Braelyn was discharged and rescanned every two months. In September 2013, the mass began to bleed again, and a scan revealed it had grown significantly. The 5-year-old’s parents made the difficult decision to have doctors perform surgery.
Thankfully, they were able to successfully remove the angioma in a three-hour surgery. Braelyn still needed almost a year of extensive therapies and treatments to recover from the side effects.
As the year anniversary of Braelyn’s surgery approaches, she recently got to celebrate her recovery and birthday with a wish trip granted by Kids Wish Network. The charity sent Braelyn and her family on an all-inclusive once-in-a-lifetime experience to visit Disney World where they stayed at luxury accommodations, dined at local eateries, and visited the “happiest place on Earth.”
“Braelyn loved meeting all the princesses and was so giggly and excited,” adds Ussery. “It was definitely an experience that we will remember. We appreciate all the work it took to plan her wish and are thankful for absolutely everything Kids Wish Network has done.”
Braelyn has completed her occupational and physical therapies but still experiences significant right-side weakness in her hand and foot caused by the bleeds. Her family is considering an eye surgery within the next year to correct nerve damage to her eye.
Kids Wish Network and Braelyn would like to thank all the generous sponsors that helped grant her wish: Calypso Cay Resort, Compassion Partners Program, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Flippers Pizzeria, WonderWorks, and Garden Grove.
Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Come experience the Kids Wish Network difference at www.kidswishnetwork.org.