Almost-nine-year-old Abby has had to endure things that most kids her age couldn’t even imagine, but she still loves princesses, superheroes, and Disney just like the typical nine-year-old girl. Described by her Mom, Jocelyn, as a “super girly-girl,” Abby especially loves the Disney princess Belle, a character full of love and compassion, who was able to see past what someone looks like on the outside to see their heart. For Abby’s Wish, she was able to travel to Disney World with her family to meet her hero.
Abby was diagnosed with Epidermolysis bullosa at birth, a genetic connective tissue disorder that makes even the slightest touch to the skin extremely painful, resulting in blistering or tearing. Abby requires daily bandage changes, long sleeves and pants to protect her skin, and constant vigilance to prevent infection. EB also effects internal organs, requiring annual surgical intervention. Abby can’t go outside in the summer sun, and there are some days that her family can’t even open the windows or turn the lights on due to the extreme sensitivity of Abby’s eyes. For a child with the needs that Abby has, a trip to Disney would have been almost impossible without the help of Make-A-Wish. Abby’s Mom says, “For us to be able to go on that trip it would have taken substantial planning, arranging for bandages to be sent ahead, making sure there was air conditioning, and so many other things, and financially, I don’t know if it would have been possible. Make-A-Wish took care of all of that for us so that we could just go on vacation like a ‘normal’ family.”
Leading up to Abby’s wish granting, from meeting with her Make-A-Wish team to flying home from Florida and beyond, her wish granters and everyone working with her at the Make-A-Wish office checked up on her often, making sure that Abby and her family knew that they had the full support of the whole community. For Abby’s wish reveal, her wish granters and Mom worked together to surprise her with princesses Elsa and Anna and the exciting news that Abby and her family would be traveling to Disney to meet Belle. “She’s hard to surprise, but we got her. She spent the whole day with her hand on her head in shock, she just couldn’t believe it.” Because of the efforts of her Make-A-Wish team, Abby got to experience Disney in a way that she never would have been able to otherwise, including unforgettable, “once in a lifetime,” one-on-one time with Belle. “We’re just so grateful. There’s a little bit of an obsession with Belle, so the amount of time she got alone with the characters was incredible. Give Kids the World was amazing, and all of the accommodations that our wish granters made sure we had were amazing,” says Abby’s Mom. Abby’s Wish allowed her to have an experience that took the attention away from her EB, that made her feel loved, supported, and purely happy. “Disney was the perfect wish for Abby...she had seen so many of her friends go on family trips there and she was always saying, ‘That’s where the princesses live.’”
story written by Marie Walton