If someone asked you to share your one true wish, what would it be? Kayci, 8, knew her one true wish was to meet as many of the Disney ® princesses as she could. Their movies, songs, and stories were what helped her through more than three years of treatment for leukemia, including hospital visits, doctor visits, and days of resting between chemotherapy.
Now that she was feeling better and ready to go on her wish, Kayci’s team of volunteers and wish managers at Make-A-Wish Arizona sprang into action to send her to California so her wish could come true. In the past year, Make-A-Wish Arizona has granted 330 wishes for Arizona children like Kayci, who are dealing with life-threatening medical conditions. Southwest Airlines at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has been an active and enthusiastic supporter of more than 107 of these wishes.
That support helped Kayci, her two younger sisters, Aliyah and Khloe, and her mom and dad, Shawnda and Corey, make it all the way to the Disneyland ® Resort in California, where Kayci had lunch with one of her favorite characters, Rapunzel, and was also able to meet Elsa, Anna, Ariel, Belle, and Pocahontas. She spent her days with her face painted, riding her favorite rides, and her nights looking up in wonder at the fireworks over the park. It was exactly what Kayci had hoped for her one true wish. It allowed her to be a kid again. She was able to forget years of fear and pain by creating memories of laughter and fun with her family.
Kayci never expected all the little extras that make a Make-A-Wish experience so special, like the special attention Kayci and her family received at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter, which included a welcome from her personal wish escort and presents from the Southwest Airlines Wish Closet, which is stocked by the staff members themselves. Kayci was introduced to her fellow passengers and asked to make the pre-boarding announcements. She and her family even visited the Captain in his cockpit before the flight! Southwest’s special attention to Kayci and her family ensured her first wish moments were unforgettable.
It didn’t end there. Southwest again went above and beyond to welcome Kayci home. They greeted Kayci and her family as they exited the plane with Southwest mascot, TJ Luv, and had balloons and tiaras ready for the whole family to celebrate.
A special thanks to Disney, who has helped Make-A-Wish grant more than 88,000 wishes globally since the first official wish to go to the Disneyland ® Resort 33 years ago.
Make-A-Wish Arizona is proud to be the founding chapter of Make-A-Wish, the now international wish granting organization. As the keepers of the memory of the very first wish, we see every day the impact a wish experience can have on a child—and on a child’s family—as they deal with life-threatening medical conditions. We are so pleased that Southwest is a part of that impact. They go above and beyond to create memories that will last a lifetime.
For more information on how you can make an impact on a wish child in your area, visit www.wish.org to find a chapter in your city or state.
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