Abby has been playing the clarinet for eight years, with many of her bandmates becoming more like family than just fellow musicians. For her wish, she wanted to do something big that would impact everyone who had supported her during her illness, while also being a memory to last a lifetime.
“In high school, band had such an important role in my life and I wanted to share my wish with people that mean so much to me,” said Abby, who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at age two.
Her wish, to bring her high school band to Disneyland to perform in the parade, began as a simple idea. But it wasn’t long before Abby’s classmates started fundraising and spreading the word in support of her one true wish.
The result spiraled into a movement of compassion led by the entire community. Kids, teachers and local businesses supported Abby’s wish until the whole band was able to go to Disneyland!
“The impact of Abby’s wish reached beyond just our family and truly touched the entire community,” Victoria said. “The memory is irreplaceable, and there were so many people involved to share this experience.”
Abby’s marching band – a total of 43 students – arrived at Disneyland for her one-of-a-kind wish experience. The band attended a performing arts workshop with a music clinician, where they had the opportunity to play scores from Disney films in a concert band setting.
“It was the coolest experience of my life!” Abby said. “We would play the music and then we could see the original movie scenes and animations layered over our recording!”
The next day, Abby’s band was able to lead the main parade around Disneyland, with some familiar faces along the route –members of her senior class had travelled to California to cheer her on.
“It was amazing to watch her wish come true and see her blossom,” said Victoria. “Music is such a big part of who Abby is and the fact that she was able to do all of this for her friends really represents her heart.”
Abby said if she had to pick a favorite part, it was watching her friends have the time of their life.
“This was something that my band would not be able to do normally and I feel truly grateful that I could give them this experience,” Abby said.
Even after the wish, Abby was still making an impact on her high school. At the senior prom, the winner of “Prom Queen” actually gave her crown to Abby in support for everything she did for the school.
“The whole process showed me that people are so caring,” Abby said. “At first I thought I would be shunned for my illness, but everyone has been so supportive and it’s had such a positive change on how I view the community.”