Four-year-old Alla suffers from a nervous system disorder, causing many complications. As a result, she experiences many breakthrough seizures that doctors and specialists are trying to control with the aid of medications. “She sees a specialist for almost every area of her body,” said Emily, Alla’s mom.
Despite this, Emily describes Alla’s happiness as steadfast. Her indomitable spirit is unshakeable. “She has a lot going on in her little life, but not one thing gets her down,” she said.
Alla, wheelchair bound, is also non-verbal. Alla’s family relies on her facial expressions and sounds for communication.
When it came time for Alla to choose her one true wish, Alla’s parents, the ones who know her better than anybody else, confidently translated her thoughts into words.
Emily, growing up immersed in Disney culture, shared that passion with her daughter—not knowing the depths of impact it would have on her. Alla began watching Disney movies in the hospital; however, it was more than something to pass the time.
“Whenever she was sick, it felt as if it was the only thing she wanted to do. Her vital signs would calm down a lot when she would watch them.”
Alla and her family took off for Disneyland and Alla, never having flown on a plane before, knew something special was about to happen. “It was hard for her to understand the complexity of everything that was happening, but she really understood it more once we actually got there.”
At Disneyland, Alla wore a Make-A-Wish lanyard and Emily felt like some of the characters went out of their way to make sure Alla was the most important person there. Emily reflects on Disney character Jack Sparrow spotting them eating lunch. Walking past everyone calling for his attention, he walked straight over to talk to Alla. “He stopped for my daughter.”
That small act made all the difference in the eyes of her family.
“She’s often forgotten about whenever it comes to people picking and choosing who they want to play with. She’s usually the one who’s left out. On her wish, everyone gravitated towards her. In that experience, in that short five days of her life, she was at the forefront. Everyone wanted to be around her, everyone wanted to talk to her and or the first time in her life, she was included every single time.” When Alla met Mickey Mouse, Emily said the brightness of her smile was all the confirmation she needed to know that her wish would impact her forever.
Meanwhile, while they were in California, Alla was able to meet her great-grandmother for the first time who lived there. Her great-grandmother, Patty, is very ill and Emily explains it was probably the only time they would see each other. “It was one of the most exciting things in her life that she ever had a chance to do.”
As Alla’s family reflects on the wish experience, they feel more confident and encouraged.
“It enabled us to realize that there are no limits to what we can do with her. It strengthened our confidence to think outside of the box to try different things with her that we otherwise probably wouldn’t get to experience. I can’t thank Make-A-Wish supporters enough. We don’t have one negative thing to say—not one.”