SPANAWAY, Wash. (Dec. 18, 2014): Emmalee Spalinger just had her dream come true. Thanks to children’s charity Kids Wish Network and generous sponsors, the 10-year-old was able to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios in California on her all-inclusive wish trip.
“It was wonderful to see Emmalee be a kid and forget about everything but the pure fun and magic of Disneyland,” says her mom Julee Spalinger.
For Emmalee, forgetting about “everything” includes major surgeries, invasive medical procedures and daily ailments. She suffers from a rare and life-threatening condition called Alagille syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects her liver and heart causing abnormalities and prevents these vital organs from working properly.
By Emmalee’s first birthday, she needed a life-saving surgery to stop her heart from collapsing. The procedure ballooned her heart and had to be repeated three more times in only three years. She also had a feeding tube surgically placed when she was 1 years old.
Just this past year, Emmalee finally got the feeding tube removed, but not without another surgery afterwards to seal the opening left by it. Recently, she’s suffered from painful and life-disrupting itching, another ailment of her rare condition.
Thankfully, Emmalee’s wish trip came just in time to help take her mind off her symptoms. Kids Wish Network granted her wish to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios where the family stayed at luxury accommodations, dined at popular restaurants and explored all the magic of the parks.
Meeting her favorite Disney Princess and spinning on the famous teacups were both items high on Emmalee’s priority list.
“I loved seeing Ariel,” Emmalee recalls. Her mom also noted she rode the teacups over and over again.
“We will forever be grateful to Kids Wish Network for giving Emmalee such a beautiful gift,” adds Julee. “It felt wonderful to forget about Emma’s health for a while and just be free. We will never forget such a special time in our lives and for the people who work so hard to make this happen for families like us.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank all the generous sponsors that helped grant Emmalee’s wish: Embassy Suites Brea-North, Compassion Partners Program, Tony Romas, Rainforest Café, and California Pizza Kitchen.
Emmalee’s doctors monitor her liver closely as she will possibly need a transplant in the future. She will also soon need another procedure to replace the stents in her heart.
Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. If you would like to sponsor a child’s wish or if you know a child who is suffering from a life-threatening illness, please contact Kids Wish Network at (888) 918-9004 or visit online at www.kidswishnetwork.org.