Just weeks after turning two years old, Tsihala’s energy plummeted. Usually a high-energy and happy toddler, she lost her appetite and interest in her favorite activities. After multiple visits to the hospital and a week of blood tests, her family’s world was turned upside down: Tsihala was diagnosed with leukemia.
“Watching your child suffer is probably the most horrifying thing one can experience,” said her mom, Ashley. “It leaves a mark on your heart that won’t go away.”
The next year was filled with chemotherapy, bone marrow biopsies and visits to the hospital. The spunky toddler who once loved to swim and dance with her older sister now couldn’t walk more than a short distance. Isolated because of her weakened immune system, Tsihala missed out on playing at the park, visiting the library and joining her friends at school. Being confined to the hospital for six months broke her family’s spirit.
“We were never home or together as a family,” Ashley said.
When Ashley discovered Tsihala was eligible for a wish from Make-A-Wish® Minnesota, she immediately started brainstorming. Working with her wish granters, Tsihala decided to go to the best park in the world - Walt Disney World® Resort!
Being able to spend time together after months of quarantine was all Tsihala’s family could’ve ever asked for. Seeing Tsihala and her sisters ride horses, play with other kids and meet Mickey Mouse gave everyone hope that their lives could return to what they were before Tsihala’s diagnosis.
“There was just this sparkle in her eyes that you can tell she really enjoyed it all,” said Ashley.
Tsihala’s wish helped to reset her life. It not only brought out her joyous, spunky personality again, but gave her family the chance to focus on being happy with each other - something they had been missing.