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As a child, Rebecca loved to ride her bike, read, play with her dog, and take care of her little sister. “She loved her sister so much that she was basically a third parent to her,” her father says. “She told her what to do all the time.” But, when Rebecca’s health declined, she became the one who needed to be taken care of.
Rebecca was diagnosed with aplastic anemia when she was 11 years old. Aplastic anemia is a rare condition where the bone marrow and the stem cells that live there are damaged. This causes a deficiency of all blood cells. In short, when people without this condition get sick, their body’s cells fight the sickness off. For Rebecca, her body stops producing these cells, leaving it without a defense mechanism.
News of her condition caused Rebecca to grow up at a very young age. She was forced to deal with treatments and ailments that no child should have to experience. Her family also felt the effects of Rebecca’s critical illness. “There’s nothing worse than a parent finding out that their kid may die — It was very tough on us,” her dad explains.
When Rebecca found out she would be granted a wish, she was completely shocked and beyond excited. “It was hard to believe, since Rebecca was dealing with a life-threatening illness, that she’d react this way,” her father says. Rebecca immediately started brainstorming possible wish ideas. The positive news of her wish was a welcomed distraction from her condition and provided a sense of optimism that Rebecca and her family desperately needed.
As a massive Disney fan, Rebecca decided she wanted to visit Walt Disney World® Resort. Additionally, she had heard such amazing things about Give Kids the World Village, so she knew that was where she wanted to stay.
“When we got to Disney we were treated like VIPs,” Rebecca’s father says. From the free ice-cream service (available 24/7) and breakfast with Disney characters to discovering she was a roller coaster fanatic, Rebecca had the time of her life.
Rebecca and her family created wonderful memories that they will cherish forever on this trip. It was soul-rewarding for everyone, and a break from the reality of her medical condition.
Rebecca, now 21-years-old, has graduated from Mount Royal University with a Bachelor of Education. It’s obvious that her passion for taking care of others never wavered, because Rebecca now teaches grade six in Calgary.