NEW GLASGOW – Reese Hawkins is getting her wish. So it’s not surprising that she and her family are headed to the place where wishes and dreams come true.
Kora Hanrahan holds daughter Reese Hawkins as she looks up at Cinderella at CIBC yesterday morning. She and her family will be travelling to Disneyworld next month on a Disney cruise, courtesy of the Children's Wish Foundation and a donation from CIBC. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS
Three-year-old Reese, an acute myeloid leukemia survivor (AML), will be travelling with her family to Walt Disney World via Disney Cruise Lines.
A $10,000 cheque from CIBC to the Children’s Wish Foundation helped to seal the deal. Christine Mihailedes, CIBC’s Nova Scotia district vice president, was on hand to present the cheque along with Marsha Sobey of Children’s Wish Foundation.
Even Cinderella was in attendance.
Reese’s mother Kora Hanrahan noted that the leukemia has kept the family separated for various periods of time.
“She was diagnosed with leukemia at just 10 months old. She came home but then returned to the hospital for a five-month period,” Kora recalled. “She was in strict isolation and couldn’t see her brother, just her dad and I occasionally.”
She knows, despite their struggle, they’re lucky.
“With an illness like this, some people lose their jobs because of the travel and other things. I was fortunate to be able to take the time off,” Kora said.
Families must be nominated to receive a wish through Children’s Wish. Another family in Pictou County who had experienced AML submitted Reese’s nomination. After receiving the go-ahead from doctors that she was healthy, Kora received the news on July 13 that Reese had received her wish.
“Everything is covered, from transport to tickets to tips,” she said. “We’re amazed and so thankful.”
Mihailedes said donations like these are part of CIBC’s overall approach to communities.
“We have a strategic focus on kids, cures and communities,” she said. “We believe it is so important to help kids realize their dreams.”
She noted that around $38 million had been donated to over 1,900 organizations throughout Canada last year.
“It’s important to us that Reese’s dream comes true because she’s important to us and this community,” said Mihailedes.
While the wish is officially for Reese and her dream to meet Tinkerbell, the idea for the wish came from her older brother Chase. He had been surfing the web for ideas and found the excitement of a Disney Cruise was too good to pass up.
“It all just came together,” said Kora. “You know, one year after Reese was allowed to come home, after she had her surgical tubes removed, was when we got this trip.”
Marsha Sobey of Children’s Wish Foundation noted that without generous donors like CIBC, wishes wouldn’t come true.
“I want to say a heartfelt thank you for the donation to Children’s Wish. It’s so important what you do, and giving to the community,” said Sobey.
The seven-night cruise will depart with the Hawkins family sometime next month.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common type of acute leukemia among adults. In 2006, there were 1,053 new cases of AML in Canada. About 1,300 people in Canada are expected to be diagnosed with AML in 2010.
Statistical Information from: Canadian Cancer Society's Steering Committee: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2010. Toronto: Canadian Cancer Society, 2010.