Michaela knows the words to almost every Disney princess movie song and has fantasized about one day becoming a princess in her own fairy tale. But for this little princess, a dark shadow was cast over her dreams when she was diagnosed with a disease affecting her circulatory system.
Michaela’s medical condition requires her to take daily medications to prevent her blood from clotting and affects her ability to play physical sports and activities. To avoid the temptations of climbing places she’s not supposed to, playing contact sports or rough-housing on the playground, Michaela gets lost in the magical lands in her fairy tale books and Disney movies.
Family quarrels, jealous step-mothers, curses and young love are often the themes of Michaela’s tales, but what she pays the most attention to are the stories’ heroines – the princesses.
“Michaela loves to play dress-up and pretend that she is a princess,” said Michaela’s mom, Joy. “She’s into fashion and being girly so playing dress-up has been her coping mechanism when she gets sick. It’s a way for her to escape her current situation and become part of a new, mysterious land that’s all her own.”
Michaela pretends to be Rapunzel from “Tangled”, finding her strength and individuality by following her heart. She becomes Ana and Elsa from “Frozen”, singing her way through her troubles and fears. She also pretends to be Jasmine from “Aladdin”, her favorite princess, who is courageous and always looking for adventure. Sometimes her two brothers even join in on the imaginary fun!
When Michaela was referred to Make-A-Wish Colorado, she followed her heart and turned to her faith to help her decide on a wish that would make her the happiest and bring her the most joy. Michaela is very close with her family, especially her father, and she wanted to be able to spend time together, but also do something special and meaningful to her.
Through the generosity of Disney, Michaela experienced her fondest wish to go to the Walt Disney World® Resort where she could experience adventure and meet her favorite princesses, especially Jasmine.
“The entire experience was incredible,” said Joy. “We spent valuable time together as a family and were able to watch our daughter enjoy being a little girl again.”
On the wish, Michaela and her family rode rides at all of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks. But the day Michaela met Jasmine was when the magic truly happened…
“We were given a private meet-and-greet with Princess Jasmine,” said Joy. “The minute Jasmine walked into the room Michaela’s eyes were glowing and she was so enthralled with her! It was an indescribable moment. Jasmine took photos with our whole family and read stories to the children. She really made Michaela feel like a princess!”
After meeting Jasmine, Michaela and her family rode the carousel, then watched a fireworks show together. Michaela especially liked riding a unicorn on the carousel!
“For one week, we didn’t have to worry about anything,” said Joy. “We were able to focus on our family and celebrate life and the blessings we’ve been given. The wish really did make Michaela feel better, and it was healing for our entire family. It has inspired us to give back and help others in similar situations.”
For Michaela, her wish to go to the Walt Disney World Resort brought out her inner-princess qualities: strength, heart, courage and adventure. She was able to meet her favorite princess, Jasmine, but most of all she was able to experience being a kid again - something she will treasure and look back on for many years to come.
The steadfast support Make-A-Wish has received from Disney dates back to the first-ever official wish, more than 30 years ago. Disney has helped grant more than 88,000 wishes globally to date and in conjunction with Make-A-Wish, is currently engaged in one of every two wishes we grant. Disney-related wishes transformed the lives of nearly 7,000 Make-A-Wish families last year, like Michaela’s, giving them the opportunity to create timeless bonds and memories.