“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine
The smallest one was Madeline.”
Penelope falls asleep to these words every night. By day, she acts the part of her favorite Parisian heroine by hosting fancy tea parties with her family and an imagined Madeline as the honored guest.
Penelope’s version of the story is a bit different from those of other girls her age, though – because her stories sometimes take place in a hospital room. Her indoor tea parties are often a substitute for having visitors or playing outside … activities her immune system can’t always handle after a recent bone marrow transplant.
But Penelope’s active imagination can do more than create pretend tea parties with Madeline. Thanks to Make-A-Wish and sponsor Isagenix, Penelope recently wished herself all the way to Paris.
With an entire world of possibilities to choose from, Penelope wished without hesitation: She wanted to go to Paris, and she wanted to have a tea party with the real Madeline.
Penelope’s wish was fancy and charming down to every detail, starting with a limousine to take her and her family to the airport. The VIP treatment continued at the airport, where they enjoyed food and drinks in a special airport lounge. Aboard the airplane, the crew even introduced Penelope over the intercom.
The fantasy traveled with them to Paris, where Make-A-Wish arranged a tea party with actors playing the part of Madeline and other characters from Penelope’s favorite book.
“It was the most spectacular meeting,” Penelope’s mother, Lori, said. “Madeline brought a book for Penelope, read it to her, and sang French songs to her.”
In addition to the charming tea party, Penelope’s adventure in Paris included playing at playgrounds, dining out and seeing the sights. For a girl who often misses out on regular childhood activities like owning a dog and having friends over to play, the trip represented freedom and a chance to forget about her illness.
But most of all, at an age when fantasy and make-believe are still as real as night and day, the wish gave Penelope a chance to simply be a 6-year-old girl having tea with her friend Madeline.
“It was the most spectacular meeting. Madeline brought a book for Penelope, read it to her, and sang French songs to her," said Penelope's mother, Lori.