Nine-year-old wish recipient Sofia had better odds of finding a four leaf clover than being diagnosed with Juvenile Batten Disease – a rare incurable disease that attacks the neurological system. But this unlikely diagnosis, which has caused blindness, hasn't stopped her from seeing herself as Hollywood-bound. And her local community agrees.
More than a dozen local businesses and the community rallied together to help Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington surprise Sofia with a day of glamour in anticipation of her wish to meet her favorite celebrity.
It began with a horse drawn carriage ride to a local salon where she received a stylish hairdo, a touch of makeup and a manicure.
Trading in her t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes for some fancy flats, a frilly dress and some larger-than-life sunglasses, this fashion plate was ready for her own version of lights, camera, action. Sofia exuded the confidence of a Hollywood starlet as she nailed pose after pose for the professional photographer capturing her wish enhancement experience.
Next stop: a VIP dinner and a grand send off party at P.F. Chang's with friends and family. More fans and local news reporters met the starlet outside the restaurant for a TV interview upon her arrival. "Make-A-Wish is such a beautiful cause, so showing our support is truly a priceless and wonderful opportunity," said Amy Spring, operating partner of P.F. Chang's.
A few days later, Sofia, her sister Isabella, and mom were flown to Hollywood to watch the filming of her favorite television show, Disney's "Good Luck Charlie." After the taping, Sofia got the chance to meet the show's stars and get a full tour of Disney's studio. Sofia was in her element rubbing elbows with her idols.
Other highlights of her vacation included a trip to the Walk of Fame, a visit to the wax museum and some time poolside.
"Sofia has many hard days ahead," shared her mom, Rene, "but now she has such great memories to reflect on when the tough days come!"
Special thanks: Wish granting volunteers Terri White and Tara Parker, Demma's Salon, Sunny Wright Photography, Alaska Airlines, Ralph & Carmen's Carriage Squire, The Sheraton Hotel, Bonnie Anaya, Get a Grip, Becky's Coffee Shop, P.F. Chang's, Peter Freepons, Ruurd Veldhuis, Officer Brian Ohler, Johnson's Limo Service, Puterbaugh Construction and KD's Country Floral