Katelyn used to love waffles more than just about anything… that is until she found out there was such thing as waffles shaped like Mickey Mouse.
“When Katelyn met her wish granters, she knew right away that she wanted to go to the place where these special waffles are made,” said her mom, Irene. “She wished to go to Walt Disney World and was so determined to finally try them for herself.”
But unlike her wish choice, not everything leading up to this point in Katelyn’s life has been so simple.
“Katelyn was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease when she was 2 years old after we noticed her eye was drooping,” said Irene. “As time progressed, she couldn’t even open her eye and now she depends on her treatment to keep her alive.”
It wasn’t until Katelyn’s nurse brought up Make-A-Wish Arizona that her family considered referring her for a wish.
“I had heard about the organization when she was first diagnosed, but I thought referring Katelyn would take a wish away from another child so I never ended up going through with it,” said Irene.
However; after receiving news that Katelyn’s wish was happening, Irene knew she had made the right decision.
“I immediately started crying,” she said. “It’s been a rough couple of months in the hospital for Katelyn and seeing her so happy and excited brought me to tears. Knowing Katelyn’s nurse and their encouragement to refer Katelyn for this experience has touched our lives in so many ways.”
In March, Katelyn traveled to Florida with her mom, dad and her cousin, Carly.
“I had never been on an airplane and before we took off, I got to meet the pilot and they made a special announcement over the speaker just for me!” said Katelyn.
“Being able to bring her cousin made it that much more enjoyable,” said Irene. “They have grown up together and nothing compared to watching their laughter and smiles the whole time we were there.”
To start each day at Give Kids the World, Katelyn enjoyed her very special Mickey Mouse waffles.
“It sounds like such a small detail, but the people at Give Kids the World went out of their way to make these custom waffles just for her,” said Irene. “We were speechless because it made her day - every single day.”
Katelyn loved meeting the characters and going on fast rides at Walt Disney World, as well as visiting SeaWorld and Universal Studios during their stay.
“I liked the Expedition Everest roller coaster at Animal Kingdom,” said Katelyn. “We went on it again and again!”
“Katelyn loves roller coasters so we were good sports, but you could definitely see the fear in our eyes on the scarier rides,” said Irene, with a laugh.
Right now, Katelyn is in the 4th grade and spends her time coloring and crafting when she is not receiving treatments from home. Sometimes her family even tries to recreate the Mickey Mouse waffles on their own, but that’s still a “work in progress” according to Katelyn.
As for Irene, the memories from this experience have left such an impact on her that now she feels like it is her time to give back.
“We didn’t have to worry about one thing the entire week and I know Katelyn will always remember her wish,” said Irene. “I am going to sign up to volunteer because now I want to help other wish kids and families, so they can have an experience just like ours.”