At just one month old, Reese underwent open heart surgery due to a genetic condition called Williams Syndrome.
"Now at age 5, she has some developmental delays, some learning disabilities, she has distinctive facial features that all people with Williams Syndrome kind of share," Emilie, Reese's mom, said.
"I was sick," Reese said.
But for one week, Reese wasn't a sick kid.
In August of 2012, Make-A-Wish® North Texas sent Reese and her family to Orlando, Florida to visit Walt Disney World® Resort, a place where Reese hoped to meet her favorite characters from the movies that she watched over and over again with her siblings.
"Honestly, I kind of thought Make-A-Wish® would say, 'Here's some plane tickets, here's some keys to a hotel at Disney World, go have fun.' That would've been great, but it was so much more than that," Jeremy, Reese's dad, said.
"Our Make-A-Wish trip was the most amazing week of our lives. From Reese's surprise send off party, until the time we got home was simply incredible," explains Emilie. "As soon as we got to the airport to leave for Florida, Reese was treated like she was the most important person in the world and that didn't stop until we returned from our trip."
The family, like all Make-A-Wish families, stayed at Give Kids The World® Resort, a 70-acre, non-profit "storybook" resort, located near Central Florida's most beloved attractions, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to a week-long fantasy vacation. The stay includes amenities such as their own family villa, an all day Ice Cream Palace, a life-size Candyland playground and meals at the Gingerbread House Restaurant just to name a few.
During the family's adventures to the Disney Parks, Reese met almost every Disney character you could imagine but more than anything, she had high hopes of meeting her friends from Toy Story. She received hugs and kisses from Woody and Buzz Lightyear and even got the chance to dance with Jessie and a few other Toy Story characters during a parade.
"This wish went beyond anything that we could have ever imagined," said Emilie.
Reese will serve as our Starlight Dancer for the 8th Annual Waltzing for Wishes gala taking place in Lubbock on March 8, 2014. Six local “celebrities” will compete for the crowd favorite, but the highlight of the evening will be when Reese takes the dance floor for the ever popular Starlight Dance!