A wish upon a star lands at Disney

Over the years, Make-A-Wish Connecticut has been consistent in granting the wishes of local kids, but none of it would be possible without the help of everyone within the community. As the need for wishes grows, so does the need for continued generosity.  With 70% of wishes involving air travel, the miles donated will be extremely beneficial for the Wish Kids. The HAN Network is supporting Make-A-Wish Connecticut with the HAN Network Wishes in Flight Campaign. With a goal of 300,000 donated airline miles, you can help make travel wishes come true.

For someone whose favorite character has always been Minnie Mouse, what better place to visit than Walt Disney World itself. Victoria Diaz, with the support of her family, had been through many tough days and nights battling cancer at the young age of 3, so when she found out that she would be traveling to the most magical place on Earth and meeting her heroine, she couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Victoria’s adventure began as a surprise on Thanksgiving Day, when volunteer wish granters from Make-A-Wish Connecticut arrived at her house in Shelton, knocked on the door, and revealed her wish through an announcement from a fire truck parked in the front yard, along with music and presents for Victoria. Just a few days later, Victoria, her family and her grandmother were boarding a plane for sunny Florida.

While vacationing in Walt Disney World, they made sure not to miss a thing. Victoria’s energy was greater than her family had seen in months, and her smile never left her face for the entire trip. They took advantage of exploring every theme park, enjoying every ride, and meeting every character they had the chance to visit with. Victoria even got to dance with Minnie Mouse as a VIP member at Mickey Mouse’s Backyard BBQ — a moment her mother, Emily, will remember forever.

But for Victoria, her most memorable and favorite experience of the trip was the Enchanted Carousel at the Give Kids the World Resort, a resort designed especially for kids like Victoria and their families, who have been dealt medical hardships. Victoria rode the carousel over and over, according to her mother. She was overwhelmed with happiness at Give Kids the World, and she knew she was not alone.

“It was a perfect wish, from beginning to end,” Emily said. “The trip lifted a lot of weight off our shoulders and really brought us all together as a family. It was a magical family moment.”

After all the tough times Victoria and her family went through, this was exactly what they needed. The smiles that were shared and the memories they made will stay with them and be cherished forever.  

More than 100 Connecticut kids are waiting for their wishes to come true in the coming months, and most of those wishes involve travel. You may donate unused Delta or United miles directly to the HAN Network Wishes in Flight Campaign by visiting CT.WISH.ORG/HANNetwork. JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines also accept airline miles donations that support Make-A-Wish through their airline mile donation programs, which can be contributed through their individual websites.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.  Wish-come-true experiences can do wonders by providing a much-needed break from lengthy hospital stays and medical treatments. They give back to a child what a serious medical condition can take away — the chance to simply enjoy being a kid. Wish kids choose something that will inspire happiness and allow them to spend precious time with their families. The Connecticut chapter has made more than 2,800 wishes come true since its inception in 1986. Learn more about Connecticut wishes at ct.wish.org, or join Make-A-Wish on Facebook (search Make-A-Wish Connecticut) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@MakeAWishCT).