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Old 04-03-2011, 11:10 PM   #1
vegaangel82
A dream is a wish your heart makes....
 
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Talking Gabriella's (re)Wish... Disney Cruise September 2011

Hi everyone!!! I was told by a friend to come check out the Make a Wish thread! Despite being a lurker of these boards since July 2008, I had no idea there was a Wish section!!!!

My daughter lived her life for the first 4 years as a normal child, diagnosed with only mild asthma. By her 4th birthday, the innocent heart murmur she had always had changed, and her pediatrician sent her to a cardiologist. In the spring of 2009, we went from having a very 'normal' life to suddenly finding out our child had a fatal heart condition known as Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, and was in heart failure. Over the summer of 2009, we prepared her, and ourselves, for heart transplant....



Her cardiologist was trying as hard as possible to be optimistic, but was fearful of what the near future held for Gabriella. We completed testing for transplant in August, and also had our first visit with our Wish granters. Our team consisted of one lady who was an experienced and a husband wife duo on their first wish. Make a Wish pushed through Gabriella's wish to dance with Cinderella in her castle, and got Gabriellas wish trip planned for October 8, 2009. We were scheduled to return home Oct 14 and she would be active on the donor list October 15, 2009. Instead, on September 25, 2009, Gabriella collapsed at home and suffered a massive stroke that took her right arm function and her ability to swallow and speak. Not only was her Wish trip postponed, but she was no longer safe for transplant.

For 4 months, we focused on therapies to regain what was lost, and aggressive injections of blood thinner to thin the clot in her brain from the stroke. After an MRI in February, Gabriella shocked her neurologist and the clot had dissipated... making her safe for transplant. She was listed in February 2010 and on May 17, 2010, we got the fateful call. A private jet flight to Loma Linda University in California and 7 hour surgery later, Gabriella was given a 2nd chance at life, and we were given a 2nd chance at watching our daughter grow up. Since transplant, Gabriella has flourished, thrived and proven to many that miracles happen!

Our Transplant Photo album: https://picasaweb.google.com/vegaangel82/Transplant?authkey=Gv1sRgCP7xnL6BvO7kUQ&feat=direc tlink



Once her doctors released her for travel this past winter, we called Make a Wish. Our husband-wife wish granter team had kept in close contact with us through the whole journey and were eager to come out and have Gabriella re-wish! Gabriella changed her wish... to something she originally wanted but we had to distract her from due to the risk of her being too far from medical care..... the Disney Cruise!!!!

Gabriella is now almost 11 months post transplant, speaking amazing and utilizing her arm to the max of what she regained from the stroke. She is becoming such a big girl! And now we are eagerly awaiting our wish trip in September on the Disney Cruise!!! We had Make a Wish extend our flight a couple extra days so we could spend a day at Disney World as well (on our dime though). We are trying to decide between Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom (we are BIG Disneyland people already). We are still waiting on dates so we can book our room for Disney World and buy our tickets to the park.

ANY advice on the Disney Cruise or a single day at Disney World would be amazing!

This is us! Paul, me (Kristi), Gabriella and our son PJ


And our family blog with the entire journey from day 1 is here: www.GabriellasHeart.com
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:33 PM   #2
Corrine 1973
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I am so glad that your DD is doing better and you are to re-wish. Going on a Disney Cuise, sounds so exciting. DAK sounds like a great park to explore since you have spent time at DL. Don't forget to see Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical. Also if your kids like Donald and the gang, there is a great character breakfast there at Tusker House. It fills up fast though, just to warn you.

My family went to WDW in 2009 on a wish trip and had a wonderful time. Did you ever find that Wish Trippers thread? If not, here it is.http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2626769
I think there is another family going on a cruise in the summer.

Can't wait to read more!!
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:51 AM   #3
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I'm so excited you started a PTR!! I can't wait to follow along!

Go to the wish trippers thread and post a reply with the link to your PTR so that Maroo can add you to the WIsh Trippers (waiting for dates) section!
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:58 AM   #4
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Kristi from another CHD Mom.

We are on our way to the MD, so my time is short, I just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS on Gabriella's Wish!!!
What a journey, so happy she is doing well following her heart transplant!

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Old 04-04-2011, 07:13 AM   #5
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I am so happy your daughter will be getting her wish.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:23 AM   #6
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Hey Kristi it's Michelle!!! I love this site!! Landon is going to be going to Disneyland in October for his 4th birthday and we can't wait. I will have to take the time to make a PTR for him!!! See you on the 19th
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:17 AM   #7
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Congrats on her wish!!!! We're also taking a cruise for our DD's wish! I can't wait to read more as you hear more!
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #8
brookerene
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Congrats on the transplant and the wish!!!!! Loma Linda is a good hospital... spent time at the VA next door when my dad was ill..... I'm glad things are turning out a lot better....!
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:38 PM   #9
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Hello! Welcome to the group!!! Love the balloon pic! So cute.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:07 PM   #10
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WOO HOO!! Cant wait to hear all of your plans!!! Do you have exact dates yet? What are you looking forward to the most! What is a cruise wish trip like? do they give you any excursions or anything? Do you get to visit GKTW when you get back????
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billwendy View Post
WOO HOO!! Cant wait to hear all of your plans!!! Do you have exact dates yet? What are you looking forward to the most! What is a cruise wish trip like? do they give you any excursions or anything? Do you get to visit GKTW when you get back????
I'm sure it's different for each area but we don't get to visit GKTW. Our cruise is 4 nights on the Dream, we are staying at the MCO Hyatt the night before we sail. We also get a certain amount of money in onboard credit to put towards excursions (which we've already "spent", lol)
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:20 PM   #12
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I wasnt sure if they'd just let you visit to see it????

Soooo, what excursions are you taking???? I love a cruise!! Have you been on a cruise before?
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:26 PM   #13
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I wasnt sure if they'd just let you visit to see it????

Soooo, what excursions are you taking???? I love a cruise!! Have you been on a cruise before?
I wish they would! That would be FABULOUS!! We are doing the dolphin interaction in Nassau and feeding the Stingrays in CC. We can't wait!

I'm glad to see another Wish family going on a cruise, I was starting to feel lonely!
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:32 PM   #14
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Did you ask if you could just stop for a visit? I know that MAW families who have been there before are allowed to return to visit and participiate - even though you arent staying there, I wonder if they'd let you just see the village, maybe ride the choo choo or participate in the night time fun that night?? Ask your wish granter - maybe the'd let ya!!!????
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:19 PM   #15
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What a beautiful family and I'm just teary eyed hearing how well Gabriella is doing today. My heart dropped when you said your first wish was postponed due to a stroke -- I was expecting to read it was postponed for a transplant which would have been a great reason. I'm just so happy that Gabriella recovered so well.

I highly recommend AK over MK, especially since you've been to DL. I so wish we had more time to spend there. They have fabulous shows and great animal related activities for the children. We loved it. We probably spent more time at MK b/c our children had never been to any of the parks before, but I am dying to go back to AK. We stayed at the AK lodge too (Because we got a good discount) and it was FABULOUS!

I'm also interested in hearing more about the cruise. I think you picked some great excursions for the kids. We did stingray feeding in Grand Cayman when ds when 13 months old and he loved it.
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