Tomorrow is our friend Zoe’s birthday. She’ll be 7!!! We love this kiddo and her parents, Shannin and Jason. When we get together with them, the kids play and tussle, the adults laugh, cook great food together and drink amazing cocktails (usually made by Jason and Greg) oh wait, this post isn’t about food and drinks, sometimes I get distracted! Seriously, though, we adore this happy family.
Ever since Zoe was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) seven years ago, she has been climbing one serious medical mountain after another. Currently her battle is with Pulmonary Hypertension, and it’s a tough one. She’s an amazingly brave warrior and a tiny superhero, but she’s also just a little kid who absolutely LOVES Disney princesses.
Last February, Zoe, her mom, Shannin, and her dad, Jason, were granted a Make-A-Wish Foundation of America trip to Walt Disney World and Give Kids the World Village. Before the trip there was a sendoff party for Zoe at her house on Bainbridge Island, and Lily and I got to be a part of it. It was one of the most special things I’ve ever been invited to. Zoe, her cousin, Eva, and Lily got dressed up in princess dresses to await the arrival of real Disney princesses, Cinderella and Aurora (AKA Sleeping Beauty), who came to bake cupcakes with the girls.
If you’ve ever been to Disney Land or Disney World, you know how absolutely supremely awesome, kind, beautiful and smart the princesses are. For that matter, everything at Disney seems touched with magic, they just go out of their way to make things spectacular. I guess they don’t call it the Magic Kingdom for nothing.
Zoe had a ball; I’m pretty sure all three girls did. Most of the adults just looked on in awe, touched by what we all knew was an extraordinary moment.
I knew Shannin and Jason were excited about their upcoming trip, but I also knew they were nervous. Zoe has a central line so that her body can receive the medicine it needs several times a day, and she often needs oxygen to help her breathe. Shannin and Jason had never taken her on a plane before and they were worried about how they were going to pack everything, including all Zoe’s meds and oxygen, get everything through security and how Zoe would do up in a high altitude. And as special as Disney princesses are, even they can’t magic-wand Zoe’s disease away.
Neither can Make-A-Wish, but they make sure every single thing is thought of and paid for, not just for the child’s enjoyment, but for the parents’ ease of mind and enjoyment. Shannin, Jason, and Zoe had so much fun on their Make-A-Wish trip!!! They got to spend a week at Give Kids the World Village, which is it’s own magical place. They got to go to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. They even had their own personal TSA agent at the airport to get them smoothly and safely on and off their flights. And it turns out Zoe loves to fly!!!
While the wish is for the child, as it says on the national Make-A-Wish website,
“Tens of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters advance the Make-A-Wish® vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 37 minutes. We believe a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us and inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.”
I know this trip meant the world to Shannin and Jason too, because they didn’t have to worry about being able to afford it, they didn’t have to worry about getting through security, they didn’t have to worry about Zoe having fun, they just got to relax and enjoy a magical family vacation together thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If you know Shannin and Jason, or if you ever get to meet them, you would think they never worry about a thing, because they are grateful for every single thing they have in life. And they are complete badasses who work their butts off every day to make Zoe’s life awesome, but they do worry. For one week last February, they got to put most of their worries behind them.
So I’m asking you to donate to Make-A-Wish if you want to. It gives something precious to kids with life-threatening illnesses, but it also gives something precious to their parents and families. Shannin, Jason, Zoe, and some of their friends are walking to raise money for Make-A-Wish on September 13th here, at Marymoor Park, so that more kids can get their wishes granted. Their team is called Zoe is My Hero! We are joining them on their walk and to raise money. It’s for something magical, people, and we all need to believe in magic. You can click on the link at the bottom of this post, or on team Zoe is My Hero!
And a special Happy 7th Birthday to Zoe!! We love you and you amaze us every day!!!