5-year-old Veronica is a sweet and energetic little girl, who makes fast friends and loves to play dress up. In fact, if it wasn’t for her scar, you may never be able to tell that she was born with half a heart.
“Veronica was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome just a week after she was born, which means the left side of her heart is underdeveloped and isn’t able to pump blood to the rest of her body,” said her dad, John. “She’s endured three surgeries, but we’ve never seen her condition affect her mindset. She’s a really happy kid.”
After a recent procedure this spring, Veronica’s family received good news that she would not need another surgery for a while and more good news when they learned she was eligible for a wish.
“It was something we never thought would happen,” said John. “Each check-up is scary and now we had something else to think about that Veronica could look forward to – after everything we had been through, it was so amazing to see her concentrate on her wish.”
For Veronica, her wish was a no-brainer – to visit Belle and the other princesses at Walt Disney World!
“She’s getting to the age where she loves playing dress up and one of her favorite things to do is pretend she is a Disney princess. Other girls wear heels, she lives in them!” said her mom, Tina, with a laugh. “She has this poster in her room with all the princesses, but Belle has always been her favorite.”
When the big day arrived and it was time for Veronica and her mom, dad, and older sister, Sienna, to board the plane, they were treated to another exciting surprise – Veronica was one of the special American Airlines mAAgic Flight wish kids and treated to a party at the gate!
“The airline had cupcakes for everyone on board and Veronica even got to meet the pilot and go in the cockpit,” said Tina. “This was Veronica’s first time on an airplane and our first big trip together so it was a great way to start, even though every day of her wish was so special.”
Veronica’s family stayed at Give Kids the World for the week, with all kinds of fun things that Veronica loved, like Belle-shaped balloons, free ice cream and an animated tree that snored!
On their first day at the Magic Kingdom, Veronica even found a shop that was all Belle-themed.
“We got Veronica a crown, necklace and a wand – it was perfect!” said Tina. “She wore a special princess dress around all day and everyone called her Belle.”
And Veronica braved all the rides too, like It’s a Small World, Splash Mountain and Tower of Terror!
“I wasn’t scared!” said Veronica. “It was fun!”
The rest of the week, Veronica and her family had fun meeting princesses, watching the shows and meeting new friends.
They also went to SeaWorld, Universal Studios and spent some time at the beach, but seeing Veronica so happy meant the most to her dad.
“I think back to when Veronica was in and out of the hospital and she couldn’t have physically been able to do these things before, but now I see her singing and laughing and running around the park!” said John. “I’ve really noticed a change in her energy and this wish could not have come at a better time.”
“You can tell everyone really goes out of their way for wish families, I was really blown away by it all,” he continued. “As a dad it was amazing to see how much Veronica was smiling, you could never duplicate this experience.”
Now that her family has returned home, Veronica is doing great and everyone looks back on the experience as a wonderful memory that they will always cherish.
“Veronica’s wish was something that was so important for our whole family,” said John. “It’s the best trip she’s ever had and the best trip we probably ever will have, because it means so much.”