GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A young patient was surprised with a dream come true Wednesday.
Disney princesses, balloons and sparkly tiaras filled the café room in Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. A crowd of people holding wands formed clapped as 10-year-old Lily Palawlanta walked in.
Lily is being treated for a seizure disorder by neurology and neurosurgery teams at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Her doctors, members of her care team and family gathered to reveal a surprise they’d all been keeping from her: Lily and her family will be going to Disney World next week.
Lily’s hand flew to her face in surprise as a Make-A-Wish team member opened a shiny golden box full of princess-themed items. At the announcement of Disney World, a tiara-wearing Lily jumped up and down in excitement.
“Lily has spent the last year doing a lot of testing, a lot of stays at the hospital as we try to find the best care for her. And this is an opportunity to just kind of put all that on hold and spend time together as a family just enjoying one another. We’re very excited about that,” said her mother.
Next week, a limo will pull up in front of her house to bring the Palawlanta family on a journey full of surprises. Lily said the first thing she will do when she gets there is “become a Disney princess.”
Dr. James Fahner, chapter medical advisor for Make-A-Wish, said the organization is important because it does the work doctors cannot.
“We know that on long and difficult challenging medical journeys like Lily and her family have been on, sometimes there are things that we can’t write a prescription for. Sometimes there are things we can’t order from the pharmacy … the Make-A-Wish organization helps us write a prescription for hope. You help us write a prescription for joy, you help us write prescriptions for magic that you bring into the lives of incredibly special children like Lily and her wonderful family,” Fahner said.
Make-A-Wish Michigan has been making dreams come true since 1984, and has granted over 11,000 wishes to Michigan children with critical illnesses, the organization said.