Far away from the tests and daily experience with seizures, Ian gazed into the eyes of a princess as she gently held his hand. His battle with seizures seemed far away as he hugged her. The 8-year-old had always wanted to meet a few of the Disney princesses, but today he would meet them all.
“We will always remember seeing (Ian) with all the princesses,” Ian’s mom Meg said. “We will remember how for one week, we were able to feel ‘normal’ without any doctor visits.”
Ian has been experiencing seizures since he was 3 years old. He’s tried 12 different medications, many alternative therapies and underwent numerous tests and three brain surgeries. Meg said they felt as if they had hit rock bottom when doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan said they could reduce Ian’s seizures to once a month.
It was nearly half a year past the surgery when Ian met the princesses during his wish at Walt Disney World® Resort, and he was seizure-free since.
“Disney has always been a dream of his, however we never had the funds to take him because of medical bills or the time because of his condition,” Meg said. “Make-A-Wish gives hope. It brings families back together in a real, normal way that is lost when you are spending so much time with doctors and just everyday care. (Make-A-Wish) gives back the smiles."
For Ian, who loves sports and anything sparkly, the trip to Disney was filled with many of his favorite things – princesses, rides, Shrek and Harry Potter. It was also filled with lots of firsts – first family vacation, first airplane ride and first time to Disney.
“It was the most magical experience ever,” Meg said. “Everyone at Make-A-Wish is amazing. The experience was once in a lifetime. The memories and everything we were able to accomplish was something that we will never be able to do again. (Make-A-Wish) gave us togetherness.”
The steadfast support Disney provides to Make-A-Wish® nationally dates back to the first official wish kid, Frank “Bopsy” Salazar, whose wish was granted in 1981. In 2015, Disney and Make-A-Wish will grant its 100,000th global wish together. In 2014, more than 7,000 wishes involved Disney’s help, and every year, Disney continues to enrich the lives of wish kids around the world by bringing them hope, strength and joy.
The timeless bonds and memories Disney has created have helped kids like Ian through treatments, helped them overcome doubts and despair, and helped them feel and get better – because wishes work wonders.
In Fiscal Year 2014, more than 190 Michigan kids wished for a Disney experience, which includes the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida, Disneyland in California and Disney cruise. Since 1984, Make-A-Wish Michigan has granted more than 4,100 Disney wishes.