SUNCOAST - Most 12-year-old girls worry about the next sleepover, summer camp event, or what to wear, but for one Suncoast girl, she's spent the last couple of years worrying about her next hospital visit.
Now, thanks to the local Make-A-Wish Foundation, Naya Hoffman gets to embark on a Disney cruise with her family and best friend.
Naya is like most outgoing 12-year-old’s and has plenty of energy, but that was not always the case. Several years ago she began suffering from debilitating symptoms. "They were sticking needles in me and I had no clue what was going on."
Naya's mother, Sandra, said she would spike severe fevers- sometimes lasting for a whole day. "Her blood work was just insane. They didn't know what was going on, but they knew something was wrong. She wasn't walking, talking, hardly eating…weren't too sure what was happening."
Finally, at age 9, doctors found out Naya had Systemic-Onset Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, sometimes called Stills Disease. “A lot of people don't get it think it's an older person's disease, just joints, but she was on heavy doses caused her to get diabetes insulin dependent for about a year."
After over a year of medication and physical therapy, Naya is managing her disease, and now she is a celebration and send-off.
Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation Naya is going on a Disney cruise with her family and best friend Jade. "Blood work has been good several months now, so we just pray it continues."
Naya is now enjoying every minute of her health, pain free, because just like one of Naya's favorite songs, it's not always about where you're going...it's the climb.
You can help other kids with medical conditions like Naya, by getting involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation or attending this year's, "Midsummer Night's Wish" on Saturday, July 13th at the Ritz Carlton Beach Club on Lido Key. It'll be a great event with food, fun, and music.
For more information or to get your tickets call 925-WISH.