At the age of 7, following a surgery to remove a brain tumor, Cydney lost all physical abilities in her body.
But, just like princess Elsa learned to control her powers in the Disney movie, Frozen
, Cydney found a way to push through treatment and regain her strength - and it all started with her wish.
“The tumor significantly affected her mobility and verbal expression, so Cydney was barely talking again when we met our volunteer wish granters,” said her mom, Lindsay.
While enduring months of radiation and chemotherapy, Cydney’s wish to go to Walt Disney World with her family gave them the strength and hope to keep fighting.
“It was motivation for us all. We put it on the calendar and kept reminding ourselves that once she got through the treatments and all the hard days, we would be going to Walt Disney World,” Lindsay said.
Throughout Cydney’s treatments, her extended family from Florida and Oklahoma would often travel to Arizona to stay in the hospital with Cydney or take care of her younger siblings.
“These were the people that were with us throughout it all. They took turns traveling across the country to help and I cannot express how thankful we are for their support and availability for any needs we have had,” said Lindsay. “We were so excited when our extended family met up with us for Cydney’s wish and it was fun to just be a family and to spend that time together.”
Cydney enjoyed a private meet-and-greet with princesses Elsa and Anna, and she met more of her favorite characters, including Ariel and Tinkerbell. She loved riding all the roller coasters, and she even rode the Tower of Terror three times in a row.
On the last night, Cydney and all her family members gathered in front of the castle to watch the fireworks for a truly magical ending to their trip.
“It was great to see her smile and to just enjoy being a kid again,” Lindsay said. “This wish made all those hard days, weeks and months of treatment seem so distant. Seeing Cydney be able to fully enjoy the trip and doing so well for those long days shows us she is coming back.”
And, like the movie Frozen, Cydney’s story has a happy ending.
Today, Cydney is attending school and has daily therapy to improve her mobility and speech. Even though her wish has been fulfilled, it still provides her as much strength and hope as it did in the months prior.
“We show her pictures and videos of where she was just a year ago in Walt Disney World, and she can see the changes she has made already,” said Lindsay. “Her hair is growing back quickly, her appetite is ever increasing, and she has changed by leaps and bounds compared to where she was then. It is a night-and-day difference that shows Cydney she is capable of anything.”