New Year’s Eve is supposed to be filled with celebration and excitement; but, for seven-year-old Hazel and her family, the holiday marks the day that Hazel was diagnosed with leukemia. Immediately after this diagnosis, Hazel began a 2.5 year chemotherapy treatment plan.
“Hazel does not identify herself with leukemia,” her mom said. “She just doesn’t let it define her. The majority of her friends didn’t even know she had cancer. Hazel talks about it in such a casual way like ‘yesterday I got a spinal tap and then. . .’ She just talks about it factually. Emotionally, she copes very well.”
Hazel is a really curious child. She is not afraid to ask questions, and she is always conversing with her doctors. She seeks to understand and wants to know the reason behind all of her procedures. Her constant questioning has allowed her to remain strong through treatment since she knows the “why” behind every blood transfusion, chemo treatment, and other necessary procedure.
She also absolutely loves Disney’s Mary Poppins, which made declaring her wish to go to Walt Disney World® in Florida a “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” decision! She loved the idea of non-stop rollercoaster rides and getting the chance to visit Universal Studios Florida™. While on the trip, her favorite ride was Tower of Terror! Hazel and her family were able to visit all the theme parks and SeaWorld®. On the last day of her wish, Hazel and her family hit all four parks in one day to ride everyone’s favorite ride from each park. Give Kids the World® Village was another family favorite. They loved having the ability to order pizza, 24/7!
Hazel’s mom described her daughter’s wish as a gift that created memories her family will cherish forever. “All of my girls talk about the trip all the time! When your kids are sick, you can’t go out. Trips become so expensive and it’s hard to justify a vacation. This trip allowed us to be a family. It was a week where we didn’t worry about cancer and all we were thinking about was enjoying every moment and making memories.”
Hazel is currently doing very well and is taking swim lessons for the summer. Her family is living life as normal as can be and enjoying the simplicity of being a family.