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Miranda was an outspoken, vibrant little girl. As a child, she was energetic, fun, and loved to use vocabulary that stretched beyond her years. Tiny but mighty, Miranda’s dad described her in one word: motivated. “Once she got something in her mind, she wasn’t afraid to put steps in place to get what she wanted,” he says.
Reflecting on when they noticed the first signs of Miranda’s illness, her mother recalls: “She was 11, and it was the summer when she started getting these massive headaches — we thought it was just the heat and sun,” she says. “And then her vision changed.”
Miranda and her parents visited the doctor in the fall, when an ophthalmologist noticed her vision changing rapidly. She had some bloodwork done and the doctor confirmed, at just 11 years old, Miranda had end-stage kidney disease.
When they heard the news, Miranda’s parents were shocked. Thinking back on that moment, her father says: “I always considered myself a pretty tough guy, but when you have your child exposed… you always want to protect them. It kind of brings you to your knees.”
Throughout treatment, Miranda’s family never thought she “looked” very sick. “She always looked quite healthy, just really tiny,” says Miranda’s mother.
One day, in an effort to lighten the mood, Miranda’s mother teased her and said that if she was a little “more sick” then she would probably be eligible for a wish. When the doctor entered the room, Miranda exclaimed, “My mom says that I can get a wish if I’m sick enough!”
The doctor responded by telling Miranda that since she had end-stage kidney disease, she was, in fact, eligible for a wish through Make-A-Wish®. That’s when Miranda’s family got in touch with Make-A-Wish® Northern Alberta. “We never ever thought that our family would be so privileged to have such an event happen in our life,” says Miranda’s mother.
Miranda heads to the set of Heartland!
In 2010, at the age of 15, Miranda’s wish to go see the filming of Heartland, her favourite show, came true. She loved horses, the cast, the story line… and she had never missed an episode. It was the perfect wish-come-true!
“These people didn’t know us from anybody, and once they heard Miranda’s story, they were sure to make it a day she wouldn’t forget,” says Miranda’s mom.
Actor Sean Johnson, who plays Grandpa Jack, made sure Miranda’s day was memorable. After he finished shooting for the day, he stayed on set longer, just to have lunch and talk with Miranda. “The cast was so attentive to her and I think that was the most memorable thing for us,” Miranda’s mom says.
Now, Miranda is 20 years old and thriving. Despite her disease, Miranda continues to be the energetic, vibrant and motivated little girl her parents know her to be.
Thank you to WestJet for helping to make Hannah’s wish so memorable.