When Olivia’s mom was 20 weeks pregnant, she went to the doctors for a routine appointment. The doctors discovered an issue with Olivia’s heart, and before even being born, Olivia was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. Olivia was born 10 days early and was immediately put on medicine to keep her heart working.
When she was just six days old, she had her first open-heart surgery and then a second when she was four months old. During this whole process, Olivia had a feeding tube and numerous heart casts. At three years old, Olivia underwent her third open-heart surgery where she received a pacemaker. Olivia will eventually need a heart transplant, but her pacemaker is doing a great job for now.
When Olivia went into her last open-heart surgery, her mom brought older Disney movies like Winnie the Pooh and Snow White for Olivia to watch while recovering at the hospital. Olivia loved both movies and eventually began turning to them for comfort. She watched these movies every time she was sick or after surgeries. When Olivia learned she had the opportunity to make a wish, she knew she wanted to visit her favorite theme parks where she could meet the movie characters that had brought her comfort through her hardest of days.
Olivia’s favorite part of her wish was meeting her favorite characters in person. She is a shy girl, but she gave every character she saw a huge hug. She also loved riding all the rides, and she even took on the Tower of Terror, twice!
“Olivia expresses her happiness by smiling,” Olivia’s mom explained. “When she smiles, she has these dimples that you can swim in and this wish brought out those smiles.”
Olivia’s trip was very meaningful to her. Lately, she has been struggling emotionally because of all the hard things she has been through in her short life. “This wish was a reward for our family, and Olivia, that we got through this,” said Olivia’s mom. “It was a way to show Olivia that she can do hard things. She may have to pay a harder price to get those things, but she deserves it.”
Today, 5-year-old Olivia, who has had eight total surgeries, is doing great and is enjoying her tumbling class and jump rope team at school. After her wish trip, Olivia’s mindset switched. Her family said that Olivia’s wish helped her to reset her way of thinking and become more positive and happier.
“She has improved so much since the wish,” said Olivia’s mom. “Her emotional struggles have changed since the wish. This trip reset her thinking on her situation, and her health has improved so much. The emotional issues we were having are not nearly as bad.”