Lia Goes To The Jingle Ball

December 20, 2014

When we read Elizabeth’s heartfelt nomination for her daughter, Lia, we knew it was a wish grant we needed to make happen. Lia is an nine-year old girl living with cerebral palsy and other physical challenges. Her mother nominated her to attend the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, and we helped the family share a memorable weekend together. In the face of illness and physical limitation, the family banded together, as Elizabeth noted: “I know these experiences are intended to be a break from the sick days, but sometimes the sick days come along on the journey as well.” Here’s their story:

“Last Friday, Lia got pretty sick with a fever of 103.  She has a surgery scheduled on Thursday to address this problem, so I knew that she would be fine – we just didn’t want to miss her amazing concert! She rested throughout the weekend and did not have a fever on Monday morning – so we excitedly hit the road on Monday afternoon for our trip up to D.C. We effortlessly checked in to our hotel and quickly changed for the concert (Lia wore her DIFTL shirt and she and her sister wore matching sequined leg warmers for the occasion!).

By the time we got to the concert, Lia wasn’t feeling well and her blood sugar was spiking. I held her during the concert, since she was too tired to stand up. She smiled and sang along during the music, but fell asleep intermittently. Lia’s big sister filmed as much of the concert as our phone battery would allow – so Lia would be able to experience it again when she was feeling better. She did get up to dance to Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass” and sang along to “Let It Go” when Demi Levato performed. Lia’s big brother donated his coat as a pillow – and kept reminding Lia that if she wanted to go back to the hotel we could- and no one would be mad at her. She wanted to stay, and she stayed till the very last song.

I debated sharing the full story with you – I considered glamming it up and keeping it insanely positive. But then I realized that you guys need to know how much joy you are bringing even in the midst of chronic illnesses. I know these experiences are intended to be a break from the sick days, but sometimes the sick days come along on the journey as well. Lia would have been sick no matter where she was. But she was able to spend the couple of days before her surgery making fantastic memories. And as a mommy, I got to see my kiddos pull together to support each other. Lia decided to hang tough so she could experience the entire concert and make sure her brothers and sisters didn’t miss a minute of the excitement. Her siblings wrapped her in love and made sure she got the most out of every moment. The hotel you provided saved the day – and the staff was awesome.

For families living with special healthcare needs, the drama and viruses and complications don’t take a break. But THIS TIME, the fun was what she will ALWAYS remember. The memories of being tired and checking her blood sugar every hour and the biohazards and all of that… those memories will fade. She WILL remember how the lead singer from One Republic walked up to her row, how the snow came down when Demi Levato sang, how Lil’ Jon said bad words and made her giggle, and how it feels to be in a group of 20,000 people singing to the music they love.

Thank you for the work you did to make this experience happen.  Thank you for attending to the details so we just had to go and have fun.  Thank you for doing it for the love!”