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‘Magic truly does exist:’ Creating lasting memories for children facing serious illness

Thanks to generous donors, Make-A-Wish Canada granted nearly 1,000 life-changing wishes last year
Charlotte lives with chronic lung disease. Her wish was to go to her favourite theme park – a dream made true by Make-A-Wish Canada and generous donors when she was three-years-old.

Charlotte likes to surround herself with all things pink. She’s smiling when she’s eating waffles for breakfast or popcorn and gummies as a snack. She enjoys singing along to her favourite movies or gleefully dancing.

Charlotte’s chronic lung disease required several hospital stays and a dozen surgeries. Her older brothers, twins Kayden and Kaleb, were constantly worried for their little sister and wanted to know when she’d be coming home.

“Charlotte’s medical journey has been quite something for our family, and for herself,” said Charlotte’s mom, Alicia. Part of Charlotte’s treatment regimen includes 40-minute breathing exercises once a day and taking medication to keep her airways open and strong. “Having a sick kid, you sometimes lose sight in life and become so consumed,” she added. “You have so many tears of worry and stress.”

Charlotte’s special wish was to visit her favourite theme park in Florida five years ago, when she was three-years-old. The family stayed at Give Kids the World Village, a non-profit resort. Alicia said the whole family packed their bags and left behind their routine of doctor’s visits and stress. The week-long trip was their first family holiday away from home.

“When we were in Florida, I didn’t see Charlotte as a sick kid,” Alicia said. During the trip Alicia was constantly overcome with tears of happiness and joy which she hadn’t experienced in years. “It was remarkable and unimaginable; I had feelings I haven’t felt before of what it was to feel like a normal family.”

At the resort, Charlotte and her brothers started every morning with waffles and sprinkles and were treated like “royalty.” Charlotte also surprised her parents when she rode a therapeutic horse. Her mom joked that Charlotte was always terrified of cats, dogs and butterflies, but she rode the same horse three times and wouldn’t get off!

Once home, Charlotte returned to treatment for her chronic lung condition. Even five years later, Charlotte still talks about her wish experience that brought so much light into her life.

“Magic truly does exist and I’m so glad we got to experience it as a family,” Alicia said.

Your support helped Make-A-Wish® Canada grant nearly 1,000 life-changing wishes last year, but our need remains great. A child is diagnosed with a critical illness every 20 minutes. With three new children facing critical illnesses each and every hour, the need for your donation is continuous.

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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