Local family gets wish granted

The Wheatley family at the school sendoff for Make a Wish

Ask a child what their biggest wish is, and you never know what's going to come out of their mouth.

But when a wish actually comes true, it can leave them speechless.

Then again, it depends on how you define a wish come true.

"When's something is wrong with my car, I fix it," said Eric Wheatley.
"When something's wrong with my daughter, I don't know how to fix's frustrating," added Wheatley.

Eric and Nicole Wheatley have two daughters. Five year old Addy, and three year old Hayden. We've introduced you to Hayden before. She battled a brain tumor when she was just a year old. (click here for a followup on Hayden) Now the family has been granted a trip to Disney World thanks to Make-a-Wish Illinois. The girls' school, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in Nauvoo recently held a send off party for the Wheatleys.

There's a couple of reasons this sendoff party was held here. One, while this trip is Hayden's wish, it was a blessing for her sister Addy., and mom and dad all deserve a vacation.

"My oldest. It's not her wish, but she has been through so much. As much as this is Hayden's trip, and Hayden's wish, it's so much for her too," said Nicole Wheatley.

The second reason is, this small, private school really went to bat for this family, raising just under $7000 for this trip. Eric Wheatley says

"This is such a great community. When somebody has a problem, no matter what it is, everyone here just rallies around everyone," said Eric Wheatley.

And this community has rallied around this family for the last couple of years. Hayden's mom Nicole says she is beyond thankful for this sendoff, this support, and the fact that Hayden is a happy, healthy three year old. And while MOM she is looking forward to the vacation with her family, she has a different wish.

"I would pay a million times over for a trip like this to take away what Hayden's been through," said Nicole Wheatley.

The family is now back from a week at Disney World.

Part of the trip also included a trip to the beach.

When Hayden was a baby, she took her first steps on a beach.

After her surgery to remove her brain tumor, she had a stroke, and had to re-learn to walk again.

The family wanted to visit a beach to re-live Hayden's first steps.

This trip was organized through Make a Wish Illinois.

In Western Illinois, there are two wish granters who are always looking for wishes to grant.

They've done vacations, bought electronics for kids, bought a swingset, set up celebrity meetings, and more.

"This is for kids who are righting critical illnesses, not terminal...that's a misnomer, and I want to try and clear that up. Critical illnesses...something they've been battling for a long time that requries a lot of doctor's appointments, maybe the kids are getting a lot of pokes and needles and operations. They don't have to be terminal...they are just fighting a really bad illness," says Leanne Williams, a Wish Granter with Make a Wish Illinois."

The goal is to give the kids, and their families a chance to feel normal in a not so normal time.

To learn more about Make a Wish Illinois, visit their website, by clicking here.

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