When Harlow was two years old, she fell ill just as the holiday season was approaching. Suspecting an allergy or something of the like, her parents spent the evening traveling from their family physician, to the children’s hospital, to the emergency room where they were shocked to learn that their daughter was actually in heart failure and required emergency treatment. Harlow ended up in the ICU and underwent a very intense, touch-and-go night before stabilizing and being moved to cardiac intensive care for a month.
Although she made slight progress during this treatment, her doctor ultimately concluded she would need a heart transplant. Miraculously, one hour after this diagnosis Harlow received a new heart. After ten more days of recovery, she was released from the hospital to finish regaining her strength at home.
The entire process was emotionally and physically draining on both Harlow and her family. With this in mind, Harlow’s social worker at the hospital referred the family to Make-A-Wish® Utah, where Harlow determined her one true wish was to visit her favorite characters at the theme parks in Orlando.
On the trip, Harlow stayed at Give Kids the World Village®, a 79-acre, nonprofit resort catered to children with life-threatening illnesses. She went swimming and ate unlimited amounts of ice cream at any point in the day. She and her family loved visiting the nearby theme parks, particularly the Dr. Seuss inspired Seuss Landing at Universal Orlando®. Harlow also loved the stingrays at SeaWorld® and being a princess for the day at Medieval Times®.
Harlow’s mom said the best part was seeing her daughter look so happy and healthy. “Everything is so magical there and she was at an age where she was so excited to meet all of the characters,” she explained. “It was so beneficial for our entire family after such a traumatic medical emergency. It was nice for all of us to get together as a family and bond.”