by Cassandra R. Elias
In the Spotlight: Young Girl's Make-a-Wish Trip Denied -- Private Donations Allow Her to Go
Four-year-old cancer patient McKenna May of Haskins, Ohio, was granted her wish for a Disney World trip by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, but her father nixed it and refused to sign the required approval.
McKenna's parents never married or lived together and her father only recently got visitation rights. But it's the foundation's policy to require both parents sign-off on the trip to avoid any potential custody or visitation issues when a child travels.
Her father said he wouldn't sign-off because McKenna was in remission and Make-a-Wish trips should go to children who are sicker than his daughter.
He told the local paper, "What she's been through sucks. But I think any money that the organization hands out to children, should go to dying kids, not cured ones."
McKenna was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 and went through 15 spinal taps, skin burns, multiple chemotherapy treatments and steroid injections. She reportedly will not be ruled "cancer free" until five years after her last treatment.
Susan McConnell, the CEO of Make-a-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana told The Sentinel-Tribune that the young girl was determined by doctors to be qualified for the trip. "She's been through a lot," McConnell told the paper. "What I really feel bad about is she's stuck in the middle."
As it turns out, she'll be able to make the trip, despite her father's lack of cooperation. When word got out, not only did her local community start sending in donations, McKenna received contributions from around the globe! They received so many that her mother and grandmother will be able to make the trip and give the rest to charity.
McKenna's grandmother, Lori Helppie said, "We didn't do this to get rich. We did it to fulfill her dream, and people's hearts just opened up."
The family had already postponed the trips to Disney twice while McKenna underwent chemotherapy treatment for leukemia. As the treatments affected her speech and immune system, the doctors told them it would be better to wait to go to Disney until McKenna was finished with treatment.
McKenna will visit Cinderella's castle at Disney World in August!
How does this story make you feel? Do you agree with the dad or think he should have granted his daughter her wish?