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Mary Katherine American Girl

  • Mary Katherine received her doll while she was in the hospital

  • Mary Katherine and her nurse Evan

  • Mary Katherine with Make-A-Wish staff members Bryna and Lauren

  • Mary Katherine with her parents

  • Ready for the limo ride

  • Mary Katherine and her brother in the limo

  • Mary Katherine at the airport

  • Mary Katherine with her dad and brother

“ It was the best trip ever! ”


- Mary Katherine

Mary Katherine was five years old when she received her first American Girl doll. She has loved American Girl ever since, which is why she was speechless when her wish to go to the American Girl store in New York City with her family was granted.

Mary Katherine is a sweet, kind-hearted ten-year-old who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January 2017. Her mom, Shawn, said her family was in shock when they first heard the news; however, she says Mary Katherine has a really good attitude and has stayed resilient as she undergoes chemo treatments once a week.

When it came to her wish, Mary Katherine knew a family trip would be fun for everyone in her family, including her brother. She knew her family would enjoy all the things to do and see in NYC, but a trip to the American Girl store was the most important part of her wish.

The day after her birthday, Mary Katherine and her family took a limo to the airport where they embarked on their five-day trip to the Big Apple. Along for the ride was Harmony, Mary Katherine’s newest American Girl doll that she received as part of her wish. The doll looks just like Mary Katherine and accompanies her to all of her doctor’s appointments.

“It was the best trip ever,” Mary Katherine said as she described her wish. She says the highlight of the trip was visiting the four-story American Girl store. She and her family spent hours inside the store. She even had her own personal shopper, Maria, who took time to get to know Mary Katherine and gave her a tour of the store. When Mary Katherine expressed that she may want to work there one day, Maria showed her how it could become possible.

Along with visiting the American Girl store, Mary Katherine and her family went sightseeing in the city, visited the Central Park Zoo and went on a horse-drawn carriage ride. And, they saw the Lion King on Broadway and were given a backstage tour. They even got to meet the cast!

When looking back on the past year, Mary Katherine’s mom describes it as “a rollercoaster of super lows and huge highs—it’s not all negative.” Shawn says it’s made their family more appreciative of each day. She is grateful for her their community, the medical team at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, and for being able to watch Mary Katherine learn how to give back. “Mary Katherine’s wish was a highlight to a hard, health-challenging year,” says Shawn, “It gave us time to unplug from the medical stuff and enjoy time as a family.”


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