They wanted to give her few moments of happiness as her future is absolutely uncertain.
When you are fighting a terminal illness, every small moment that is left matters and is extremely special. Last weekend, a little Tennessee girl with a terminal illness honored her impending 4th birthday with a very unique princess-themed celebration prepared by members of her community, reports PEOPLE. Adalyn of Brentwood was diagnosed in the summer of 2022 with "diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma" (DIPG), a severe brain tumor.
According to St. Jude Children's Hospital, the survival rate for DIPG is "extremely poor," and "no treatment for this tumor" is currently available. So, when Adalyn's fourth birthday came up on March 31, her parents Stephanie and Andrew wanted to make sure she had the celebration she deserved and would never forget. This is when they met Tanya Sturm of Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee, who helped them throw Adalyn a princess-worthy celebration.
Sturm, the founder of Dreams and Wishes, tells the outlet that the "super small organization" aims to give children and their families "something to look forward to" while dealing with a cancer diagnosis. She said, "We want to provide these children and their families with a lasting memory of hope and joy. We are 100% dependent on donations to grant wishes. We do not receive any government funding."
Tenn. Girl with Terminal Cancer Celebrates 4th Birthday Early with Princess Party of Her Dreams https://t.co/vS3tc7iY2n— People (@people) January 13, 2023
Adalyn's Disney princess-filled celebration took place on January 7, and some of her favorite characters, including Princesses Elsa and Anna and Olaf the Snowman from the Disney animated film Frozen, made an appearance. Stephanie said that her daughter was "overwhelmed" adding "but when she saw Olaf, she opened her arms and said, 'he needs a warm hug.'" According to TODAY, Adalyn's parents noticed signs in their daughter shortly after she turned three last year. Her mother stated her daughter complained of "fleeting head pain," tripping regularly — including one morning when "she couldn't stand up" — and being unable to move her right eye.
Following a trip to their local hospital, the family was sent to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville, where Adalyn was diagnosed with cancer. She was in the intensive care unit (ICU) for three days before receiving 30 rounds of radiation practically every day for the following six weeks. Her prognosis has not changed even though she completed her treatment in August. Then came the party concept, which Dreams and Wishes gladly assisted in developing.
According to Today, Sturm's offered to host the party at her home in Brentwood. Sturm also received a princess gown, a snowman arch, and other items. On Saturday, guests were treated to an outdoor storytime and a balloon artist, who constructed a 4-foot rendition of Princess Ariel from the Disney cartoon classic The Little Mermaid. The menu featured kid-friendly classics like meatballs, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets, as well as Adalyn's favorite, key lime pie, and a handmade "wedding cake" that Andrews created with the birthday girl. Adalyn's special day was attended by more than 40 people in total. Sturm said that she was overjoyed to witness the community's support for the young child.