This philosophy of Walt Disney is what sparked wish kid Mackenzie’s interest in Disney early on in her life; she has been a Disney fanatic for as long as her family can remember.
And it was this very inspiring message that continued to motivate Mackenzie when at age 17 was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. The condition was a shock to her entire family, especially for her mother and father, Jennie and Jeremy.
"It was all very hard to accept at first,” said Jennie. “Mackenzie had been healthy her whole life and now doctors were telling us her muscles would begin to decline and she would need to be in a wheelchair.”
Jennie and Jeremy struggled to process the fact that everything was happening so quickly. “When we found out about Mackenzie’s condition we automatically thought the worst and began wondering, ‘why my kid?” said Jeremy. “I couldn’t fix her and I didn’t want her in pain.”
New physicians and treatments were coming into their lives, along with hospital stays and new fears about what Mackenzie’s diagnosis would mean for their daughter’s future and for the future of their family.
“We were going through so many new emotions and were really overwhelmed learning about what muscular dystrophy would do to my daughter, when someone from her care team suggested reaching out to Make-A-Wish,” said Jennie.
Finding out Mackenzie would qualify for a wish gave Jennie and Jeremy mixed emotions. It gave the whole family hope after going through such a strenuous time, but it was also a little scary.
“Getting excited about this wish put everything into perspective, it meant that while her diagnosis was real, good things were still happening in her life,” said Jennie. “This wish showed Mackenzie that, just as Walt Disney once said, her dreams really can come true and that she needs to fight and not let her disease defeat her.”
Mackenzie, who loves thrill and adventure rides and every single Disney movie, couldn’t wait to embark on her wish trip.
“The trip to Walt Disney World came at a perfect time,” said Jeremy.
“She’s never been to Walt Disney World before so it was all really fun for her,” said Jennie. “This wish made everything she has always loved come to life.”
Mackenzie’s sister, Shelby, got to accompany her on her trip as well. “I was super excited to make these very special memories with Mackenzie,” said Shelby. “She is my best friend!”
In addition to spending days at Walt Disney World, Mackenzie and her family also enjoyed fishing, horseback riding, and attending a pool luau at the Give Kids the World resort.
“I couldn’t believe the experience they gave to my daughter. Everyone was so accommodating with Mackenzie’s condition and her medical needs throughout our trip,” said Jennie. “It was all planned out for us and a flawless experience!”
“I got to see my kids smile again and almost forget everything that had been going on in our lives,” said Jeremy.
While Mackenzie will continue to face the challenges of her muscular dystrophy for her entire life, her family knows this wish will help to motivate her and help her stay positive.
“Staying at Give Kids the World helped me realize that I was not alone,” said Mackenzie. “The entire vacation made me feel special and gave my sister and I quality time and a chance for my mom and dad to relax.”
“Going on this wish gave us the chance to concentrate on our family,” said Jennie. “It meant so much that all of us were able to share this experience with her, and to see my daughter happy again.”