In November 2012, my niece Emma was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She was 18 months old at the time of her diagnosis. Over the next several months my brother and sister-in-law went through the most terrifying ordeal of their lives, from multiple trips to the pediatric ICU to 30 straight days of putting Emma under anesthesia so she would remain immobile during targeted radiation treatments. Although Emma was not old enough to understand an illness of this magnitude, she knew she did not feel well, and it pained us all to see her in such misery.
Emma completed radiation and had a few rounds of successful scans indicating the tumor was shrinking when Make-A-Wish reached out to offer Emma a wish. Emma had recently become very interested in princesses, particularly Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. So it was no surprise that Emma’s wish was to go to Disney World. Make-A-Wish partnered with Give Kids the World Village to provide the family an unforgettable experience, complete with meeting all the princesses at the park. Make-A-Wish gave Emma and her parents an incredibly positive experience to counter the pain and uncertainty surrounding Emma’s diagnosis and treatment, and we are forever grateful that Make-A-Wish provides that same opportunity for thousands of kids every year.
I am walking this year to help Make-A-Wish of Middle Tennessee grant a wish to every kid and family who has experienced the fear of these life threatening conditions, so they too can have that positive experience to reflect on in the future.