Ten-month-old Hailee hadn’t been feeling well. Her first Christmas was approaching and her parents wanted her to be healthy to enjoy the holiday.
When her mom, Rachel, took her to the doctor, Hailee was immediately diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to the hospital. After three days of treatment without signs of improvement, her doctor ordered more tests. On Christmas Eve, Hailee was diagnosed with congenital heart and lung defects.
"My world came crashing in around me,” Rachel said. “I was horrified.”
Nearly a decade later, Hailee continues to face a routine of daily medications and major surgeries. Although she enjoys dancing and playing sports, she often feels discouraged when she can’t keep up with her friends.
Hailee, who loves watching Disney® movies, knew right away what she would wish for: a trip to go to Walt Disney World® Resort.
After months of imagining what her wish would be like, Hailee boarded a plane for the very first time. She couldn’t wait to spend her tenth birthday in the most magical place on Earth. The week was packed full of excitement as Hailee met her favorite Disney® characters, explored the theme parks, and had the chance to focus on her family instead of her life-threatening medical condition.
“It meant the world to me to see her face when she would hug a character. The pure love and happiness is something I will always remember,” Rachel said. “We didn’t have to worry about anything that whole week except what fun thing we were going to do the next day.”
Hailee’s wish gave her family hope, happiness and memories that they will cherish forever. “It was absolutely amazing,” Rachel continued. “It meant everything to us.”
Hailee’s wish gave her a life-changing experience shared by more than 5,000 children throughout Minnesota. Your support over the past 35 years has helped create these amazing experiences. We are grateful to celebrate 35 years of wishes, and look forward to 35 more of granting wishes for more Minnesota kids.
To learn more about how you can get involved, visit Ways To Help.