Kinley’s medical journey began when her parents noticed bruising on her legs shortly before she started kindergarten. Though bruising isn’t completely out of the ordinary for energetic, young children, Kinley’s parents were still worried. Upon searching the internet about bruising, Kinley’s mother found that it could be connected to leukemia. It was then that her parents decided to reach out to her doctor and were eventually sent to Genesis for blood work. Following her blood work, Kinley was then transferred to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Her mother recalls the moment when their fears were confirmed.

“When we got to the hospital, they directed us to go to the 11th floor - we’d never been to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital before - and when we got off the elevator, it said ‘Pediatric Cancer Unit’... We hadn’t known what was wrong before that, but this pretty much guaranteed that that’s what it was. It’s just something you’d never expect. You never expect your child to be diagnosed with cancer.”

During one of her hospital visits, Kinley and her family were contacted by a member of the hospital staff about her eligibility for Make-A-Wish®. Kinley knew right away what her greatest wish was: to go to Walt Disney World® Resort. When asked how she knew, Kinley said, “the last time we went there, I was really little and didn’t remember that, so I just wanted to go back there again.” Kinley and her family worked with the wish granters to plan the perfect wish experience that would create lasting memories. 

On the very first day of the trip, Kinley and her family were greeted by Mickey Mouse. Just the day before their trip, Mickey Mouse celebrated his 90th birthday, so he spent time greeting the guests and was pleased to meet Kinley. Kinley shares that her favorite part of the trip was when Mickey signed the foot of her Mickey Mouse stuffed animal. Kinley’s family experienced many fun moments together as they played on the beach, enjoyed the rides and met more characters. 

When asked if Kinley’s wish experience had left an impact, her family gushed about the amazing time they had, the careful planning, and the hope that her wish gave her as she continues on her medical journey; they also shared the importance of supporting and donating to Make-A-Wish. “It definitely helped us just to be able to be together, and it helped get our minds off of everything we had gone through,” her mother shared. “It gave us fun family time to look back on, time together that we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives. It’s important to support Make-A-Wish because of the hope it provides for kids like Kinley. No kid should have to go through cancer or anything like that. Make-A-Wish does make wishes come true.”

By donating to Make-A-Wish or becoming a volunteer, you can give hope and create magic for kids like Kinley. Consider becoming involved with Make-A-Wish today.