Ask four-year-old Grace what her favorite color is, and she’ll tell you rainbow – this perfectly matches her sunny and happy personality.
But for her family, a rainbow is more than that. “A rainbow stands for something very hopeful after a storm,” said Grace’s mom, Tammy. “What we went through was a very bad storm in our lives.”
Grace’s storm began when she was just over a year-and-a-half old. She started complaining of pain and couldn’t sleep through the night. For two months, Tammy held Grace upright on her shoulder so she could sleep – even just a few hours. During the day, Grace would be happily playing, then suddenly drop to the floor because she was in so much pain.
Dozens of visits to the pediatrician left Grace’s parents very frustrated as their concerns went unanswered. Tammy finally decided she had enough, and took Grace to the emergency room. She told the doctor she wasn’t going home until they figured out what was wrong with Grace.
That’s when the hospital brought in a neurologist to examine Grace, and her parents’ worst fears were confirmed. Grace had a tumor on her spinal cord.
What followed was a whirlwind of procedures, treatments and physical therapy. Grace had a seven hour surgery to remove the tumor that robbed her of the ability to run, jump and climb. She had to undergo intense physical therapy sessions and couldn’t straighten her back for eight months. After the surgery, the tumor started growing again; Grace had to undergo 14 months of chemotherapy.
In the midst of the darkest days of this storm, a rainbow appeared. And it came in the form of a wish.
“We felt special because good people out there are really caring for us,” said Tammy.
Grace’s wish combined all of her favorite things: she loves dancing, water parks, playgrounds and small rides. So Grace wished to go to LEGOLAND.
“This was the first time Grace had a chance to go out like that and have a vacation,” said Grace’s dad, Khang. “(With her wish), everything just turned around in such a short period of time, and that’s something she’ll remember for the rest of her life.”
Grace’s family dubbed her wish her ‘Rainbow Vacation,’ and dressed in bright colors every day to celebrate the end of their storm. Instead of hospital visits and physical therapy appointments, Grace’s family focused on having fun together and enjoying every moment. They went on rides, met pirates and took every opportunity to dance.
“The type of joy we received (from the wish) is overwhelming,” said Khang. “It’s an experience we’ll never forget for the rest of our lives.”
It took 200,000 frequent flier miles to send Grace and her family to LEGOLAND. Right now, 80 percent of wishes involve travel. Can you help? Donate your frequent flier miles. You can make big difference in the lives of local wish kids and their families—and it doesn’t cost you a dime!