“The limo, tiara, and fairy dust made her feel like a princess”
When Kalissa was in the fourth grade, she started to fall behind in school. She complained of having a brutal headache. On the way to the doctor’s office, Kalissa began screaming because the pain was so severe. A CT scan in the ER showed that Kalissa was having a cerebral hemorrhage or bleeding inside the brain. The test results also revealed that she had previously suffered from two strokes.
She was diagnosed with a brain ateriovenous malformation (AVM), a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. An AVM is a rare condition that puts extreme pressure on the walls of the affected arteries and veins, causing them to become thin or weak. This can result in the AVM rupturing which also causes cerebral hemorrhage.
Kalissa was airlifted to Hershey Children’s Hospital and rushed into surgery. Afterward, Kalissa was put on a ventilator while they kept her in a medically induced coma to allow her body time to heal. Unfortunately, Kalissa contracted an infection and had to undergo a second craniotomy.
Following her surgeries, Kalissa went through six weeks of inpatient rehab and then another six weeks of home therapy with round the clock nurses. The brain hemorrhage left her paralyzed on the right side of her body for nine months. The bleeding also deprived her brain of oxygen, rendering her unable to talk, swallow, or eat. She had to relearn how to do everything, including the basics like walking and talking. Kalissa now walks with a cane and wears a foot orthotic brace on her right side as well as an arm splint.
Kalissa is a kind and funny young girl with an equally sweet personality. She loves to play board games with her friends and family. One of her favorite activities is shopping.
With the help of benevolent local stores and the Valley Mall, Kids Wish Network planned a fabulous shopping spree for Kalissa which included a limo escort, a luxurious makeover, a private dressing room, her own personal photographer, and gifts galore. Arriving at the mall in a stretch limo, Kalissa was greeted by a red carpet. After her VIP entrance, Kalissa kicked off the day with a royal beauty treatment from Sephora and hair styling at the JC Penney salon. They sprinkled sparkling “fairy dust” in Kalissa’s hair to make her feel even more like a princess. Her bountiful shopping spree at Justice, Claire’s, Bath & Body Works, Kay Jewelers, and Littman Jewelers was everything Kalissa could have ever hoped for and more. Justice adorned Kalissa’s dressing room with lights, flower petals, and decorated her name on the door to make her feel extra special. The star treatment continued with a sponsored dinner for Kalissa and her family at Red Robin, where her favorite princesses joined her to celebrate her wish with a custom Frozen themed cake courtesy of Cindy’s Sweets & Delite-ful Treats. The princesses sang to Kalissa and presented her with a tiara of her very own. Kalissa’s perfect day gave her memories that will last a lifetime.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for participating in Kalissa’s wish:
• The Valley Mall
• JC Penney
• Bath & Body Works
• Dairy Queen
• Kay Jewelers
• Littman Jewelers
• Cindy’s Sweets & Delite-ful Treats
• Red Robin
• Faerie Fantastical
• Time Advantage
• Payless Shoes
• Regal Cinema Theatre
Tags: Ateriovenous Malformation (AVM), Bath & Body Works, cerebral hemorrhage, Cindy’s Sweets & Delite-ful Treats, Claire's, Dairy Queen, Faerie Fantastical, JC Penney, Kay Jewelers, Littman Jewelers, PA, Payless Shoes, Pennsylvania, Red Robin, Regal Cinema Theatre, Sephora, Target, The Valley Mall, Time Advantage