After a long journey from Oahu to Orlando, it was time for Chase’s magical wish come true at Walt Disney World. Wish mom Leanne settled in next to her son for their first attraction of the day, taking in the bright colors and happy music of It’s a Small World. As she looked over at Chase, wide-eyed and smiling, she began to tear up. “The look of wonder on his face was indescribable,” she says. “I started tearing up right then and there.”
The anticipation of this moment had been keeping Leanne, Chase, and the entire family going for the past year, as Chase endured a difficult battle with leukemia. At just 5 years old, he had already fought through numerous tests and treatments, missed school, and overcome obstacles no child should have to face. Despite his condition, Chase remained a happy, hopeful child—full of wonder for the most innocent of life’s pleasures: parades, fireworks, Christmas decorations, and Disney characters. When he and his family met wish granters Nicole and Cayenne, they told them all about Chase’s joyful personality and his wish to board an airplane bound for The Happiest Place on Earth during the holiday season.
During the most trying periods of his journey, Chase’s family used his upcoming wish as a source of hope and positivity. “It became something we all looked forward to while in treatment,” explains Leanne. “Thinking about and planning the trip helped to keep our mind off of the difficult times.”
The family also used the anticipation of the wish as an incentive for Chase to comply with his treatment, often telling him, “If you want to feel better for the trip, you need to wear the mask and take your medicine.”
Nicole and Cayenne encouraged Chase too, and they were soon considered part of the family, rooting for him right along Leanne, wish dad Lee, and sister Avery. “Despite everything that the family and Chase have gone through to date, they are in amazing spirits and so deserving of a wish that will bring them hope, love, and joy,” they said during the wish planning process.
And after showing incredible resilience and strength, Chase was soon well enough to leave the hospital and enjoy a life-changing experience at Walt Disney World. “[The wish] meant feeling special,” says Leanne. “He said, ‘Wow! I get to wake up and do something fun every day!’”
Since returning home, Chase has renewed vigor and is happier than ever; according to Leanne, he still mentions his wish “at least once a day.” And his family is motivated to wish it forward and share the impact that a wish can have on a family like theirs.
Says Leanne, “We were able to enjoy time with each other as a family. Everything went so well, and it was more than expected.”