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Disney is the wish come true

By Staff | Sep 28, 2018

Elizabeth Wesley poses with Andy Coleandra, owner of Andy's Pizza in Ranson, during a fundraiser there last week. Photo by Toni Milbourne.

RANSON — Sometimes wishes do come true, and they are coming true for Elizabeth Wesley, as she and her family plan a trip to Disney World thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Elizabeth, according to her mother, Carrie Wesley, has been diagnosed with drug-resistant epilepsy, a potentially life-threatening disease. The diagnosis made Elizabeth eligible for the Make-A-Wish program, which grants the wishes of children with critical or life-threatening diseases.

Officials from the program evaluated Elizabeth’s case, contacted her doctors to gauge her qualifications for the program and to determine if her wish was appropriate and doable. The program officials then interviewed Elizabeth, and learned her wish is to go to Disney World and meet Cinderella.

According to Carrie, the process can take up to six months, but the foundation approved Elizabeth’s wish in about eight weeks.

“They rushed it for us,” Carrie said.

The Wesley family will travel to Florida in mid-October, just days after celebrating Elizabeth’s eighth birthday, so the trip is a combination birthday and granted wish.

To say Elizabeth is excited would be an understatement. Her smile spread from ear-to-ear as she discussed how she will get to meet not only Cinderella, but Mickey and Minnie, too.

“Cinderella is my favorite. I like when the prince finds the glass slipper,” Elizabeth said. “I’ve never been to a big amusement park.”

Elizabeth will be joined at the famous amusement park by her mom and dad, Carrie and Charles, as well as by older sister, Erica. The Wish Foundation makes the trip possible for the entire Wesley family, providing “Genie Passes” to the Disney parks, admission to Sea World, and covering lodging, food and travel expenses.

Souvenir expenses are not covered by program, so local friends and businesses have been working to raise funds so Elizabeth can bring some of the memories home with her.

One of these fundraising events was held at Andy’s Pizza in Ranson on Sept. 19. Carrie said shop owner Andy Coleandra hosted the fundraiser, and dozens of friends came out to support the event which also boasted a silent auction organized by members of the Keto United group in Jefferson County.

Local resident Alan Williams, who has befriended the young girl and her family, said he came out to support the fundraising efforts because, “w]ell, it’s Elizabeth.” Williams had met the family due to Elizabeth’s love of fire trucks. A member of Citizens Fire Company, Williams said that Elizabeth has visited the fire station multiple times and has won the hearts of many of the volunteers there.

“She’s my ‘adopted’ niece,” Williams said.

Carrie expressed her appreciation to all who turned out for the fundraiser.

“These people are all working together to support the little girl they all love,” Carrie said.