Many little girls dream of being a princess, but 5- year-old Alexa's dream actually came true to go to Disney World.
Diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, Alexa was undergoing treatment earlier this year when her princess wish came to the attention of Vanderbilt WishMakers and Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee. And faithful to the lyrics of the Disney theme song ("When You Wish Upon A Star"), Alexa's wish came true! Thanks to the kindness and donations of others, Alexa traveled the sea aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship. Along the way, she had the opportunity to meet some of her favorite princess characters- and some villains.
"She is still talking about how much she loved the villains show," says Alexa's mother, Shauna, of Disney's comedy revue called Villains Tonight. The show included characters like Cruella DeVil from 101 Dalmatians, Captain Hook from Peter Pan and Scar from The Lion King.
Shauna says Alexa also enjoyed spending time in the pool and at the "kids only" area of the ship. "She was so excited to learn to swim under water," says Shauna.
When she's not playing princess on a cruise ship, Alexa spends her time at home in Fairview practicing her gymnastic moves and playing with her little sister. While she still makes monthly visits to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital to monitor her progress and check blood counts, Alexa is now cancer-free and has completed her chemotherapy treatment.
With the struggles the family has faced since first hearing of Alexa's diagnosis, Shauna says the kindness of Make-A-Wish volunteers has made a huge difference for their family. "They are such an amazing organization. Everyone seems to love what they do and to understand that they are doing work that matters."