Nia is a happy, friendly nine-year-old from Chicago who loves American Girl Dolls, cupcakes and playing dress-up. And for years, she’s seen commercials for Disney World and heard her classmates talk about the magical times they had there with their families. She also knew her older sister, Taylor, went to Walt Disney World for a wish in 2011, which only made her want to visit more.
Diagnosed with the same blood disorder as Taylor at birth, Nia was referred to Make-A-Wish for her own wish in 2017. As soon as she found out she would get a wish granted, her first question was, “Could they send me to Disney?” The answer was yes.
“We were elated and extremely excited when we found out she’d get a wish,” said Nia’s mom, Audrey. “She’d wanted to go to Disney for so long, but it just wasn’t financially feasible for us. So her wish was a no-brainer.”
In April 2018, Nia’s dream to visit Walt Disney World was finally realized. Audrey said from the moment Nia was referred to the last day she and her family spent at Disney, the experience was amazing. Nia had lots of favorite moments during her trip, but the part she liked the most was riding the parks’ roller coasters, especially Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom and Lori’s Magical Flight at Give Kids the World Village. She was happy and care-free through the entire trip, and her joy was contagious.
“I remember just sitting outside the little cottage at Give Kids the World and … trying to soak up every second,” Audrey said. “You never quite know how things will pan out, but Make-A-Wish really took care of everything.”
As the mother of two wish children with the same illness that requires frequent hospitalization at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and doctor visits, Audrey said she’s often felt like she isn’t able to provide them with everything they deserve. Through tears of joy, Audrey emphasized the huge impact Make-A-Wish has had in her children’s lives and her own.
“It’s phenomenal to think there are people who care enough to want to give from their hearts and help people like us,” Audrey said. “It has been the most heartwarming thing ever. I just keep saying ‘wow’ … I don’t have words for what it’s meant to us.”