Three-year-old Juliette Haire has remained strong, even while battling a condition that has kept her in and out of the hospital since last year.
On Saturday, Haire took to Furman University's Lakeside Amphitheater stage and danced her way through "Let it Go," after the surprise of a lifetime.
Haire, who loves Disney princesses, will be headed to Disney World in a week along with her older brother, Jasper Haire and parents, Joseph and Aneta Haire, thanks to the efforts of Make-A-Wish South Carolina, which grants wishes to children suffering from life threatening conditions.
The announcement also coincided with Walk for Wishes which was held on World Wish Day. The event takes place annually and celebrates the founding of Make-A-Wish 37 years ago. A few dozen children — some, past wish recipients — families and supporters turned out to the walk, which took place around the Furman Lake following the announcement.
"It's been a long, hard road with her having to go to the doctor so much and getting shots all the time," said Joseph Haire.
Last July, Juliette was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH), an immune disease which produces tumors.
"She's been so brave and she's so proud of herself when she doesn't cry from her shots," said Haire. "It's kind a kind of a light at the end of the tunnel. Something to look forward to."
Last year, Make-A-Wish South Carolina granted 62 wishes in the Upstate.
Bill Tiller, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish South Carolina said the nonprofit will grant wishes to over 180 children this year. Along with providing hope and strength to families, granting wishes, he added, has a transformative impact on the lives of the children who receive them.
"Many of our kids have their wish experience, get better and use their wish experience to a happily-ever-after," said Tiller. "When a child has a serious medical condition, they lose a bit of themselves and control of their lives.
"The wish experience gives the child and the family an opportunity to reclaim their lives and to refocus on hope and not just the struggle they are currently facing."
Some past wishes have included children meeting celebrities, taking mermaid classes, and designing custom sneakers at the Nike headquarters.
Zachary Heaton, 19, who suffers from a number of health problems and is wheelchair-bound, got to meet WWE wrestling star John Cena last month. Saturday, he showed up to "The Walk" with his family looking to give back to a cause that gave so much to him.
"It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. My jaw was almost to the floor." said Heaton, who wore a cap signed by Cena. "His focus was completely on me even though everyone else was trying to get his attention.
"If you believe in something great, then you can achieve it," he added.
Juliette who is steadily recovering, has four more treatments of chemotherapy remaining.
"We're extremely thank for Make-A-Wish South Carolina," said Joseph Haire. "We believe in prayer and have been praying hard for her and we accept prayers willingly."
For more information about Make-A-Wish South Carolina, visit http://sc.wish.org/.
The Greenville News