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Medical condition: Epilepsy
Wish: I wish to meet Olaf
Wish date: April 2016
Olivia is a special young girl, with a curious disposition and a love for all things Disney. As a baby, Olivia was hitting all her milestones on time. It wasn’t until she was around one year old that her parents noticed something was amiss with Olivia. “She began regressing and losing a lot of her skills,” Olivia’s mother, Christina, says. “We weren’t sure what was going on, but it was frightening.”
After bringing Olivia to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), and enduring months of testing and health scares, her diagnosis was confirmed: Olivia had epilepsy. Over the course of the next couple of years the family considered numerous drug protocols to help curtail Olivia’s seizures, but it wasn’t until they switched to a ketogenic diet that they were able to stabilize her. Needless to say, Olivia and her family have endured a lot during her young life.
Christina learned of Make-A-Wish® through various Facebook support groups she was part of. “I reached out to Make-A-Wish when one of the mums told me her child was granted a wish,” Christina says. “We needed something as a family – we needed to celebrate Olivia and to make some happy memories.”
Olivia’s wish granters learned very quickly about the things that made her happy: she liked bananas, the colour red, Dr. Seuss books, swimming, and Disney. In particular, she enjoyed the movie Frozen and Olaf.
It was obvious that a trip to Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando would be the perfect wish come true for Olivia, especially because she’d get to meet her favourite character, Olaf, there.
Olivia and her family left on their Wish Trip in March 2017. “We stayed at Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) in Disney World, and I will never be able to express how special that place was to us and so many families like us,” Olivia’s father, Donny, says. “It’s the best place in the world because you feel safe and secure while you’re away from home.”
Olivia was very happy to meet Olaf, but she also enjoyed meeting Chewbacca and Pluto, and had fun swimming in the pool at GKTW. Olivia is restricted with her mobility, so being in the water offers her a sense of freedom she doesn’t otherwise have. “She feels independent when she’s in the water,” Christina says. “We were so happy because she had a big smile on her face the entire time – we saw a different side to our child.”
Olivia’s parents are very grateful for the wish trip because it gave the family a treasured memory that will stay with them for a very long time. “Everyone from the volunteers to the WestJet flight crew to the wish granters and people down at Give Kids The World… everyone was so kind and compassionate,” Christina says. “They all give so freely without asking for anything in return; they just wanted us to be happy.”
“I was very worried about us leaving our comfort zone at home,” Donny says. “But after this experience with Make-A-Wish and our trip, I feel like we’ve been pushed out of our bubble – I feel we can conquer anything now.”
Make-A-Wish would like to thank Kensington Tours for adopting Olivia’s wish and for giving her family an experience that is healing and strengthening. Find out how you can help Wish Kids like Olivia by clicking here.
Donny and Christina used their experience in caring for Olivia to develop a handy app called Epilepsy Journal. The app helps track and monitor seizures as they happen. Learn more about Epilepsy Journal and about how Donny and Christina hope it will help others.