Autumn sat on the bed in her hospital room, her eyes glued to the television. Her body was tired of fighting – it would not even let her walk around the hallways. Limited by the constraints of her health, all she could do was watch the screen to pass the time. But while other wish kids often find their escape in cartoons, comedies and action shows, she immersed herself in a different world.
When Autumn saw the commercials for Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, she was transported. Kids splashed around in waterparks with their families and hula dancers swished their grass skirts to and fro. She knew that one day, when she felt well enough to go outside and play, she would have all the fun they were having, and she clung to that vision throughout her treatments.
The Beginning of Autumn
Autumn was diagnosed with renal disease as a baby, and at age 2, she underwent a kidney transplant. Ever since then, the hospital has been an all too familiar place where she must check in with her doctors to make sure she’s healthy. It has not been a linear recovery.
In early 2015, Autumn’s health was declining and she felt stuck in a slump. She had lost a lot of control over her body. But once her wish finally arrived, she came back with a strength that she didn’t know she had.
Getting Healthier in Hawaii
Fast forward to October, and things were starting to look up. Autumn’s health had improved enough for her to travel, and she was ready to tackle Aulani with her beaming smile and her “sky is the limit”
A big highlight from the trip was her photo shoot with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. They each gave her a hug and a smooch on the cheek, sending her positive thoughts for the journey ahead. Another favorite was the lazy river. She finally got a chance to kick back in the yellow inner tubes with her family and float her way to a more peaceful recovery.
Latricia, her mother, could not believe the positive impact of the trip. Just a few months before, Autumn had barely been able to shuffle around, and now she was climbing to the tops of waterslides and fully enjoying her free time. The resort staff also helped make the vacation therapeutic by providing private cabanas and other perks for extra relaxation.
This trip is one that Autumn is unlikely to forget. Now, no matter what life throws her way, she doesn’t have to look to commercials for comfort – she can look back at her own photos and cherish the memories that she and her family have created together.
Disney has supported Make-A-Wish since the very first official wish, granting more than 100,000 wishes globally and counting. The connection between Disney and Make-A-Wish continues to grow as wish kids become cast members, cast members become volunteers, and much more!