After battling hard against life-threatening medical conditions, patients Elijah, Daiveon, TJ, Jaquan, and Hannah knew exactly what they wanted to do next – go to Disney World!

As luck would have it, HCA Healthcare, through a partnership with the Make-A-Wish foundation, decided to award 10 wishes to our youngest patients, in lieu of the traditional employee holiday gift in 2017. On behalf of our HCA colleagues, 10 children were granted $10,000 each for the vacation of their dreams last year.

Here are their stories.

Meet three-year-old Elijah, an acute lymphoblastic leukemia patient at HCA-affiliate Methodist Children’s Hospital
in San Antonio. Elijah’s only wish was to visit Walt Disney World, and his face in this picture says it all. It was a fantastic reward for HCA’s giving campaign. He has captured the hearts of many and his care team was delighted to see him so happy. They packed a goodie bag of his favorite things for his trip and sent him on his way to make some great memories with his adoring family.

When Daiveon, 11, wanted to forget about living with a heart defect, he filled his thoughts with his favorite Disney characters. Needless to say, it was no surprise he wished for a visit to Walt Disney World. One of their many favorite patients at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, Daiveon enjoyed all four parks, especially getting to go to the front of the line for his favorite attractions. He spent quality time with his mother and grandmother during the experience, and got a break from thinking about his condition, rare congenital cardiovascular abnormality. Wishes really do come true.

Seven-year-old TJ, a patient at Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Lafayette, La., didn’t know he was going on his trip until the day he boarded the plane. His family and wish team kept the whole plan a secret from him and his two brothers. TJ’s trip became a reality full of memories to last a lifetime. And the best news of his story is that the acute lymphoblastic leukemia he fought so hard against, is now in remission!

As evidenced by this photo of Jaquan and his friend, this six- year-old adored patient at HCA-affiliate Chippenham Johnston-Willis Hospital, is a fan of dinosaurs. They help keep his mind off his battle with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue. He’s also a fan of amusement parks and Jaquan didn’t need to think twice about making a wish to go to the Orlando theme parks. His trip got started with one of his wish granter volunteers waving good-bye from inside a dinosaur costume. When he boarded the plane, Jaquan was invited to see the cockpit and meet the pilot. Upon arrival to Orlando, Florida, Jaquan and his family enjoyed all the parks had to offer including swimming, endless ice cream, and, much to Jaquanʼs delight, a Dinosaur themed putt-putt golf course! Perhaps the best part of the trip was described by Jaquan’s mother, Jennifer, when she said, “This wish was great for my family because my husband and I work opposite shifts; so we barely get to spend time together as a family. This trip allowed for Jaquan, his dad, and I to spend time together as a family without having to worry about anything. We will cherish these memories forever.”

Hannah and her parents enjoyed five glorious and exciting days in a magical place where there was nothing to do but have fun. Highlights from her trip included meeting princesses, Mickey Mouse, and Santa. She rode rides, smiled, and giggled through every minute of the trip of her six-year-old dreams. What a privilege to be a part of granting this wish that provided Hannah a break from focus on her battle with brain compression. Her care team at affiliate Palms West Hospital loves Hannah so much and was happy to see this sweet girl’s wish granted.

As the vice president of women’s and children’s services for HCA, we are committed to improving the physical health and the mental and emotional wellbeing of all children who come through our doors as patients. It’s with partnerships like ours with Make-A-Wish, and the giving culture of our company, we were able to give our patients and their families a trip to remember. Thank you.