The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes for children with life-threatening conditions to give them a chance to experience more joy away from hospitals and treatments.
This Friday, one Suncoast girl, named Lilly, is going to get her wish and meet a very special friend.
3-year-old Lilly Murphy is full of life, but those young, inquisitive eyes have a long story to tell. "She doesn't get regular eye exams like you and I get. They have to put her to sleep and use fancy equipment to make sure the tumors are stable," says Lilly’s mother Lisa.
At just ten months old, Lilly was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma- a rare, cancerous tumor of the eye. “I don't think we really noticed it until my sister and uncle both started seeing it more frequently in pictures," says Lisa.
A white glow, often seen in photographs, is sometimes the only symptom. “At first it was she's gonna lose an eye and try to save other eye and ...in this case. Now we have both eyes and she has good sight, so it's a miracle to me,” Lilly's father Michael.
So after nine sessions of chemotherapy every three weeks and countless trips to Miami for treatment, this family is finally on the road to recovery, and thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lilly is going to get to meet her favorite friend -- one by her side through her treatments. “Lilly is obsessed with many things, but her main obsession is Minnie Mouse from early on.
Volunteer Russ Larsen has helped to grant 300 wishes. “So when Lilly starts talking about Mickey and Disney...started thinking this might be a good wish for Lilly, so it went in that direction."
Tonight is the sendoff party before for a week long family Disney World vacation, and while Lilly wasn't quite sure what to think of our camera, she knew there was something special going on, and her name was all over it, from Minnie Mouse water bottles to her cake!
This Sunday, you can help the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Sarasota grant more wishes come true for kids like Lilly, just by taking part in this year's Christmas in Candy Land. The fundraising event is this Sunday at Michael’s On East, from noon until 2pm. There will be interactive edibles, face painting, balloon sculpting and the short giraffe mini confections and catering is providing hundreds of cookies for decorating!
For more information, click here.