When her battle with leukemia began in July 2013, Make-A-Wish Arizona was determined to help Zoiey smile even brighter by granting her one true wish.
“Zoiey loves to sing,” said her dad, Eric. “We always find her performing ‘Let It Go’ in our kitchen or pretending she is a Disney princess.”
Her biggest wish, to go to Walt Disney World, gave her the magical experience she needed far away from treatments and hospitals and even changed her family’s perspective on life.
Zoiey, along with her parents and two brothers, travelled to Florida for her wish. They received a warm welcome at Give Kids the World, a whimsical village with fun and interactive activities for the kids.
“By the time we settled in, it was almost midnight and we realized we hadn’t eaten anything,” said Eric. “We were so pleasantly surprised to find dinner sitting on our table and ready for us when we arrived! It really felt like home for the week.”
The same treats continued throughout the week for Zoiey, with different surprises each day. From waking up with ice cream for breakfast to finding special presents waiting in her room each night, the entire wish was a surreal experience for any 5 year old.
“She still thinks she is royalty and probably always will,” said Eric. “Zoiey really deserves to feel like that and it’s made her really happy.”
Zoiey and her family had a blast at Walt Disney World parks, Universal Studios and Sea World throughout the week. Now that Zoiey is tall enough, she even was able to go on some of the “big kid” rides.
“We found out the hard way she doesn’t like roller coasters,” said Eric with a laugh. “She definitely prefers the merry-go-round to Splash Mountain, so we focused more of our time trying to keep up with Zoiey while she flagged down every Disney character for their autograph.”
Zoiey’s favorite part during her wish was her Disney princess makeover at the Give Kids the World boutique.
“I love princesses,” said Zoiey. “Elsa is my favorite so I wore her dress and tiara! Make-A-Wish Arizona made me a princess and now I get to be one forever!”
Eric and his wife, Stephannie, plan to be Make-A-Wish Arizona volunteers to give back to the organization that gave so much to them.
“Make-A-Wish Arizona opened our eyes to all the families just like us who are dealing with childhood cancer and we want to do everything we can to help more kids like Zoiey,” Eric said.
After Zoiey’s wish, Eric admits he has a new, more positive outlook about the world and he truly values all of the volunteers who contributed 100 percent to make his daughter’s greatest wish come true.
“Ever since our relationship with Make-A-Wish Arizona began I’ve seen a change in our whole family,” said Eric. “This experience has made us better people and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”