Make a Wish Foundation sends ailing little girl to Disney World

The Make a Wish Foundation granted the wish of a little girl named Dancing Water Wapachee this year. Her name was submitted by doctors and nurses who operated on her during her last stay at the hospital. Her wish was to go to Disney World to meet Mickey Mouse with her family.

So with much preparation, the trip was planned for Christmas 2006. It would be seven days at Disney World with her family from December 24 to 31. Many people contributed to make this wish come true for this seven-year-old Mistissini girl who has gone through much for her age.

Dancing Water was born with a heart problem, and at her tender age has already undergone three operations. She does so with great courage, and beams at any opportunity for her to be back with her family. So, many people in the community came together to also fundraise to help make this journey extra special – such as the Native Women’s Association of Mistissini. Also, some money was raised in the summer at the Mistissini golf tournament.

The main expenses were handled by the Foundation and local representative Marc-André Beaudoin. He spent many hours setting up this trip, and working with the organization to ensure all details both large and small were taken care of.

It started off December 22 as the family loaded into a van and headed off to Val d’Or in minus-16 temperatures. The adventure had begun. There was some last-minute worrying about the border crossing considering many recent events in the news about international travel. Grand Chief Matthew Mukash called

U.S. Senator John Sununu’s office to help ensure this once-in-a-life-time dream vacation would come truefor this little Cree girl who had been through so much. As well, the Mistissini Police were on call to vouch for everyone’s identity should the need arise. All this helped alleviate some worrying, and in the end, everything went smoothly.

Arriving in Florida on Christmas Eve, everyone finally realized it was really happening. The flight was not terribly long, and the weather was now warm. Everything seemed new, exciting and wonderful, especially for this precious girl. Upon arriving at the accommodations provided, the family was surprised to find a very spacious and beautiful suite. It had three bedrooms and three bathrooms besides two sitting areas and kitchen.

Her mother, Alice Wapachee, left to do some Christmas and grocery shopping to ensure a good start to the holidays as Christmas morning was only a few hours away. We closed the stores.

The first day at Disney World was dampened a bit by rain and a tornado warning. But with some Mickey Mouse ponchos, we managed to make our way from event to event. The weather turned out to be the least of our worries as the crowds were more of an obstacle with many events booked up. However, we did see many special attractions and places such as The Land, Sea World and Imagination. To the delight of the little girls, Dancing Water and her four-year-old sister, Moesha, we met some very important people like Snow White, Princess Aurora, and Mulan.

The shuttle service was a little restrictive as far as schedules but Milton, our driver, took a special interest in us for the six days we were there. We felt we had made a special friend and believed he was an angel when we needed one.

On our second day in Disney World, we were off to Magic Mountain. Again the crowds were large, but we squeezed on the monorail with standing room only. When we arrived at our destination, the first thing we spotted was an incredible castle looming high above the picturesque landscape. The children were thrilled as they hurried past the magic shops and streets leading towards the castle. As we waited in the front of the castle, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy came out dancing and singing. Mickey showed up later.

On the third day of our adventure, we decided to plan ahead to choose the shows we wanted to see at MGM.

The Muppet Show was an instant hit with little Moesha, as it was done in 3-D and she kept trying to catch bubbles as they floated by. We then ventured off to take in the Classic Movies. Dancing Water was a bit frightened when Bugsy Malone came to join us. We used our first fast pass to see the live Adventures of Indiana Jones show. It was well spent, as we all enjoyed this. We then took the little girls to see Story Time with Tigger and Winnie the Pooh.

We saw Minnie and Goofy but the lineup was too long to get pictures taken. We managed to squeeze in one more play for the girls by the end of the day, The Little Mermaid. It was a long but enjoyable day as we headed back to our room at 9 pm.

After three days of adventures and much walking, we took the fourth day off to rest and stayed at the resort. Star Island Resort has daily activities for children, so the girls went off to Kids Camp for the morning. They had a wonderful morning, and we rested in the afternoon so we could be fresh for our new adventure the next morning. The suite had a television in each room so there were never any arguments about which show to watch while we rested.

After our day off, we decided to head off to Sea World. Sea World offered rides and a playground for the children and it was a nice change of pace for them from the crowds and fast pace of Disney World. The only show we were able to see was the Dolphin Show. We felt we chose wisely, as we all walked away amazed at the spectacular stunts and tricks the dolphins could perform.

Our last day was spent at Universal Studios. We spent most of the time at Dr. Seuss’ Playground where the girls and their older sister Elizabeth had their picture taken with the Cat in the Hat. Our last show was the Adventures of Sinbad where the girls learned why this legendary sailor was so famous, and had a taste of the many voyages and adventures he had.

We all felt a touch of sadness as we packed to leave Florida. Disney World and the other theme parks were so large and crowded that it was really something that would take one much longer to appreciate. However, we were very fortunate for the time and adventures we did have there as it was a first for all of us, and a dream trip for one little girl.

Even though it had given us so much joy we were anxious to get home again once we started traveling. Later, we asked each other if we would ever like to return to Disney World and we all vowed that, God willing, we would find a way. Surely we felt that He was with us all the time and it was confirmed inthe people around us that helped “strangers in a foreign land.” We cannot thank enough those who made it possible for us to make this trip with Dancing Water. Your generosity and kindness is greatly appreciated by the six of us: Dancing Water, Moesha, Eric, Elizabeth, Alice and Dorothy.