DOVER — When her family flies to Disney World later this month, Cherish Roy, age 7, can’t wait to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
On Tuesday night Cherish and her family celebrated their upcoming vacation with pizza, cake and games at Playtime Cafe in Dover.
The trip is extra special for the family. After Cherish was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2013, her last session of chemotherapy is finally scheduled for August.
The family’s vacation to Disney World was made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit group that fulfills the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses.Charlie and Elisha Roy enjoy daughter Cherish’s Make-A-Wish party with other daughter Cheyenne, 4, right.[/caption]
“The wish parties are the best part because we bring the wish to them. They’re going to have their dream come true,” said Make-A-Wish volunteer Lynne Singleton, as she watched Cherish and her sister play Tuesday.
“It’s very exciting,” Ms. Singleton said as her voice caught.
As a volunteer “wish granter” for the organization, when she finally has the paperwork ready to make each child’s wish a reality, Ms. Singleton always plans a party for them with cake and balloons.
Cherish, from Magnolia, is a friendly, enthusiastic little girl who loves Disney princesses, especially Ariel. After months of cancer treatment, her brown curls have only recently grown back.
“Everything is on track and doing well,” her mother, Elisha Roy, said.
Along with her mother and father, Charlie Roy, she will travel to Disney World with her sisters Sierra, 12, Chassitty, 10, and Cheyenne, 4.
When she gets to Disney World, she said she plans to “ride all the rides I can,” and threw up her arms in excitement.
“...but no scary rides,” Cherish added. “They’re too scary.”
She also plans to go to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a magical beauty salon where little girls can get princess makeovers. Every night, she said, she watches the promotional video from Disney World that Ms. Singleton gave her.
Cherish was referred to the Make-A-Wish Foundation by her social worker at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. The organization accepts referrals from medical professionals, family members and potential wish kids themselves.
After a child is referred to the foundation, the office assigns him or her “wish granters” — in Cherish’s case, Mike Williams and Lynne Singleton.
“We’re the first person-to-person contact with this family from make a wish,” Ms. Singleton said. “We go and we interview the family to find out what the child’s wishes (are).”
After the family’s February interview, the volunteers sent paperwork off to the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic office, and a coordinator set out to plan the wish.
“I thought, when I filled out the online application, I thought a wish granter would have to do the work to plan the wish…no, we don’t do any of the hard work,” Ms. Singleton said.
“We get the fun stuff.”
Ms. Singleton, a retired teacher, has been volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for about a year. So far, she’s worked with around 20 kids. A trip to Disney World, she said, is definitely the most common wish.
“For the most part, usually, it’s just a wonderful, wonderful experience and the family is thrilled and grateful for what they have received,” Ms. Singleton said.
For Cherish’s party, Ms. Singleton reached out to the Playtime Café, which opened in March at Carroll’s Corner Shopping Center.
The owners, Jason and Olga Rash, donated a party package without hesitiation.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation needs more volunteers in lower Delaware, Ms. Singleton said.
For information about volunteering or other ways to help, visit http://midatlantic.wish.org.