Princess Ariel and 5-year-old Zophia are not all that different. Both love to sing and play, and both struggled with feelings of being different – Ariel because she wanted to live on land and Zophia because she has a critical heart condition.
Before she was even born, Zophia was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect causing one side of her heart to be underdeveloped and affecting the blood flow of her heart.
Zophia received her first surgery when she was only two days old, and since then has had two more heart surgeries to combat her condition.
“She was such a strong girl throughout all her procedures,” Juana, Zophia’s mother, said. “She’s always been a fighter.”
While in the hospital for one of Zophia’s treatments, one of the hospital volunteers told Juana about Make-A-Wish Arizona.
“Zophia loves to sing and has always admired Princess Ariel for her beautiful voice, so she chose to meet her at Disneyland for her wish,” said Juana.
“The whole process happened so fast. I couldn’t believe how quickly we received the news that Zophia’s wish was going to be granted.”
Zophia remembers watching television with her mother on an ordinary day when wish granters suddenly surprised her at her house with balloons and her favorite snacks and said her wish was coming true!
“After that day, there was a constant sparkle in Zophia’s eye. She was more cheerful, and she started to feel proud of all that she had been through to get to this moment.”
“I was counting down the days until we could go,” Zophia said.
During their stay at Disneyland, Zophia and her family found one surprise after another waiting for them. Zophia loved getting to ride in a limo, go on rides in the park and finally meet all the Disney princesses, especially her favorite mermaid.
“She couldn’t stop smiling the entire time she got to talk to Ariel,” Juana said. “It was her dream come true, even better than she had imagined.”
After her fun-filled wish trip, Zophia is healthy now and will be starting kindergarten in August. She still visits her cardiologist on a regular basis and has to take daily medications, but her condition does not hold her back from living a happy life.
“Now, after her wish, when she takes her medicine, she doesn’t complain. She’s more positive about everything,” Juana said.
Zophia and her family know that they will never forget Zophia’s wish and the joy that it brought to all of them.
“I think [receiving a wish] is something a lot of families deserve, and it’s something that they might never be able to afford themselves. That’s where Make-A-Wish really helps them. It lights up families’ lives, and it helped us look forward to life’s beautiful adventures.”