On Thursday, The Blaze brought you the story of a 4-year-old Ohio girl who had recently finished her last cancer treatment after battling the disease for two years. She was granted her dream to visit Disney World in Florida through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but because her father wouldn’t sign off on her going, her mother had to find another way to get her there.
Within three days of the original story hitting the media in the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune and only a couple days of it making it on national outlets, McKenna May will have her trip, but through a different dream-making organization.
Although the Make-A-Wish director for Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana said McKenna qualified to take the trip, even though she was done with treatment and hopefully on the road to only getting better, McKenna’s father, William May, said he believed the money should only go to children who have six months or less to live. Because of that, he wouldn’t sign the paperwork to let her go. The Sentinel-Tribune reported that Make-A-Wish required both parent’s consent for trips, except for in rare cases where the parent wasn’t known or couldn’t be found.
Enter Jamie’s Dream Team. The grassroots, volunteer-based dream-making organization based out of Pittsburgh was moved by McKenna’s predicament and came forward. Without the same legal stipulations as Make-A-Wish, Jamie’s Dream Team believes they’ll be able to send McKenna to Florida as planned — without the family themselves having to raise money as they had begun to do.
Jamie Holmes, who founded the organization in 2005 when she was just 17, said that since the McKenna’s mother Whitney Hughes has custody and is legally allowed to take her daughter out of the state, the trip is on. Holmes said in an interview with The Blaze while she was driving to Toledo to meet McKenna in person Friday morning that they’re hoping to send the family to “the happiest place on earth” in early to mid-August, which was when the original trip had been planned for.
“I believe that no matter if she is done with her treatment now or not, she battled and she went through all of the heartache, all of the pain,” Holmes said. “She wants to be Cinderella and if she can legally go, she should get to go.”
Watch Holmes, stepping into the role of “fairy godmother,” speak to a local news station here.
Learning of McKenna’s situation Thursday, Holmes said they emailed the family offering to send them on the trip they were hoping to take and they accepted. In Ohio, Holmes and her team will finish up paperwork with the family and get to know the little girl whose wish they are helping make come true.
“I want to get to know them as well as possible,” Holmes said, explaining that Jamie’s Dream Team, which has completed more than 300 wishes in its seven years operating, makes site visits for all those it helps. “It’s very important to me to meet each and every recipient. It’s a lot more personal and makes me feel better as well.”
Holmes, who battles with illness herself, something that inspired her to begin this organization in the first place, said that since she knows what it is to be sick, she takes pleasure in seeing the “smile on an individual’s face and [knowing] that I got to help make them happy.”
Jamie’s Dream Team has completed dreams that range from trips to fashion shows to helicopter rides. Perhaps what makes the organization the most unique though is that its 100 percent volunteer base is composed of individuals who are or have battled with sickness or those who have been touched by illness through someone else in their life.
Stay tuned: The Blaze will update this post with any photos or comments from the family after Jamie’s Dream Team visits them today.