When 16-year-old Mackenzie received her wish, her family got so much more than just a trip. They found an opportunity to connect in a way that hospitals, doctor appointments and many medical complications had previously made impossible.
Mackenzie’s path to diagnosis and treatment was a long one; she spent six straight months in hospitals before receiving her wish. When she was first admitted, she could not eat, swallow or walk due to a life-threatening gastrointestinal condition. After six months of treatment, she could finally eat and walk again, but not without pain.
“The trip was a much-needed transition between chapters in Mackenzie’s story,” said Mackenzie’s dad, Mike. “She has been on a long path of recovery toward a somewhat manageable routine.”
Mackenzie’s wish gave her and her family a much-needed break from all of the medical appointments and stresses they had faced together.
“(Her wish gave our) family something to look forward to other than the next doctor appointment. You have these appointments, a series of things you don’t want to do or don’t look forward to, then the wish comes around and you have that to look forward to,” said Mackenzie’s mom, Janae. “It’s a little sparkle.”
For an entire week, the hospital was the furthest thing from Mackenzie’s mind.
“She was more of a kid again, she wasn’t stressed about being the cool teenager or having this doctor appointment tomorrow,” said Janae. “She was able to smile more.”
The group went to Walt Disney World® Resort and explored Magic Kingdom. They went to Animal Kingdom and spent two days at Universal Studios. Around every corner, they found people like you who went above and beyond to make their trip extra-special.
“I think the most important thing, the way it really impacted our family, was just the realization that we’re not alone,” said Mike.
Special thanks to Adopt-A-Wish® sponsor Washington Patriot Construction and wish-granting volunteers Lou Cutler and Ken Kieffer.