With five brothers and two sisters, wish kid Haylee’s family photo is a big one. Finding her place as the middle child in a big family is tough enough as it is, but Haylee handles it with a smile, all while living with Rett Syndrome.
Because of her illness, Haylee uses a wheelchair and is non-verbal, using mainly her eyes to communicate with others. Her family describes her as a happy and observant child, one who enjoys going to school and laughing with her friends. Unlike her brothers and sisters, Haylee is unable to play outside and participate in sports, so sibling bonding is usually limited to watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Show together. Haylee, who is a dedicated viewer, is a huge fan in particular of both Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
From the beginning of her wish experience, Haylee worked closely with her wish granters, Heather, Jessica, and Janelle, who happily became like three more members of Haylee’s family. “Our wish granters never looked at us like we were too large of a family,” said Haylee’s mom Christine.
And after getting to know Haylee a little better, determining her one true wish was as easy as chanting, “Meeska, Mooska, Mickey Mouse!” The next step was throwing Haylee a wish reveal party. The theme, aptly centered around her show, was complete with Mickey Mouse balloons and a Minnie Mouse cake. Haylee’s wish granters had also made an amazing wish reveal video that showcased Walt Disney World Resort. As she watched, Haylee’s eyes lit up, and she began to laugh. Haylee’s bright smile and ceaseless chuckling showed her family and friends that she knew exactly where she was going, and that she was excited about it too.
Haylee soon landed in Orlando, Florida with one goal in mind: to meet Mickey and Minnie. “She didn’t even care for the princesses!” laughed Christine. But when Mickey and Minnie first came around, Haylee was unsure how to react. “At first, she just kind of looked at them,” said Christine. Whether their life-size statures made them unrecognizable or it was the shock of finally seeing her idols up close, Haylee spent the first few minutes of their encounter in a state of curiosity. Then, with some encouragement from her family and playfulness from both Mickey and Minnie, Haylee’s expression changed. Soon enough, she was beaming and giggling and had the same sparkle in her eye as the day she found out her wish was coming true.
Haylee and her family enjoyed the many attractions that Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. The experience brought them closer together as a family and provided a well-deserved break from the realities of living with a critical illness. Today, Haylee’s life has resumed to its regular pace. She still laughs with her classmates at school and continues to watch the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show with her siblings. When asked about their experience and hope for the future, Christine replied, “Our times with Make-A-Wish Hawaii were a godsend. We loved it and hope that we can help other families have their special wish come true as well.”