With every step she took, Kaelee was one step closer to meeting her new best friend. The air surrounding her was filled with excitement and anticipation as she completed the scavenger hunt of a lifetime! It is hard to imagine that only a year ago, Kaelee was stuck in a hospital, beginning the hardest journey of her young life – beating cancer.
In 2017, Kaelee and her mom, Ariel, went to the emergency room because Kaelee had a high fever and a swollen throat. Then, when she mentioned her neck had been bothering her, the doctor ordered a CT scan that found a tumor in her spine. After a surgery to remove the tumor, doctors told Kaelee and her family news that put their life on pause: Kaelee had Ewing’s sarcoma.
“Getting cancer was the worst. It had a huge impact on me because the year before I had lost my aunt to cancer, so me losing her made me think I wasn’t going to make it,” recalls wish kid Kaelee.
Before they could even take it all in, Kaelee began treatment. Over the next year, she endured spinal surgery, 14 rounds of radiation and 30 rounds of chemotherapy. With a weakened immune system and intensive treatments, Kaelee missed all but nine days of the second grade. Through this difficult time, Kaelee turned to her favorite movie to put a smile on her face – Beethoven. Since she was four years old, Kaelee has been collecting posters and stuffed animals of Saint Bernards, hoping that one day she would have her own to love and hold.
When Kaelee’s hospital social worker informed her family she was eligible to receive a wish from Make-A-Wish® Minnesota, they knew granting her wish to have a Saint Bernard would be the perfect way to celebrate the end of her treatment!
In October 2018, Kaelee and her family traveled to Duluth where a scavenger hunt led her to her very own puppy, waiting for her in a precious pink bow! One look was all it took for Kaelee’s face to fill with pure joy. In honor of her favorite movie, Beethoven, she named her new friend Missy – the name of a Saint Bernard in the film series!
“We love that Make-A-Wish® was able to do this for her, and that we get to have another loved one in our family,” Ariel said.
Click here to donate today and help make wishes like Kaelee’s come true for Minnesota kids with critical illnesses!