Mother raises enough to take cancer survivor McKenna May, 4, to Disney World

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Mother raises enough to take cancer survivor McKenna May, 4, to Disney World

According to the NY Daily news, They’re going to Disney World!

Friends, family, and complete strangers have raised more than enough money  to send a four-year-old girl whose leukemia is in remission to the Magic Kingdom  after her father denied the child a Make-A-Wish-funded trip to the Orlando theme  park because she wasn’t “sick enough.”

The story of McKenna May, who was diagnosed with leukemia as a two-year-old  but prevented from visiting Disney World by a seemingly bitter father ricocheted  across the nation this week, receiving coverage in national media outlets  ranging from Gawker to Business Insider.

When the story first ran in the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, it was  reported that the child’s mother and grandmother had decided to try to raise  money for an alternate trip; the four-year-old had been talking about visiting  the theme park for months.

The women placed collection jars around their small Ohio town in an attempt  to raise the $3,500 they thought they would need if they drove from Ohio to  Florida. The task seemed Sisyphean, and on Monday, the local paper reported the  women were “still far” from their financial goal.

But then they moved online, and that was when the donations came pouring in.  The family created a page called “Disney Wish” on and in the short span of a few days,  238 donations totaling $12,696 made their way to the site as of Friday afternoon  EST.

“Looking at the figure above, simply takes my breath away,” Lori Helppie, the  child’s grandmother, wrote on the site. “Our family thanks you from the bottom  of our hearts.”

Most donations came in $5, $10, or $20 denominations, but a few gave even  more.

One anonymous donor contributed $500 and left no note, while another listed  as “Someone special” gave $1,000 without so much as a word.

Those who did leave notes seemed to connect with May’s story, even if they  didn’t know her.

“As an adult going through chemotherapy myself I was very touched by  McKenna’s story and had to donate something even though you have exceeded your  goal,” Jeff Rubin wrote with his gift. “Take some of the extra money to make her  trip as special as possible. Have a wonderful time.”

Rubin’s lack of concern that the family had exceeded its goal was echoed  throughout the page.

“If there are funds left over, I hope they can help defray the costs of  having a very ill child. We’ve experienced childhood illness in our family, and  my heart goes out to you,” the donors listed as Michelle and Stephen Farris  commented.

But the generosity didn’t end there. Numerous Disney employees and insiders  reached out to the Daily News in an attempt to offer the leukemia survivor  in-kind donations for the trip.

James Grosso, general manager of the Hilton Orlando hotel inside the Disney World Resort, contacted the Daily News after reading Thursday’s story to offer  the family five free nights’ stay.

“I could not imagine what this little girl has been through at such a young  age,” Grosso said. “If this very small token of a weeklong stay at our hotel can  bring smiles to that girl’s face after all she has been through, that was my  goal and motivation, that she gets to see what was promised to her, Disney World  and all it has to offer.”

The Daily News has forwarded Grosso’s message on to the family.


Mother raises enough to take cancer survivor McKenna May, 4, to Disney World


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2 thoughts on “Mother raises enough to take cancer survivor McKenna May, 4, to Disney World

  1. Yay for all the outpouring of love and caring for this family! I hope they have the trip of their lives and they make many precious memories to fill their hearts. Just when the world seems so cruel and unjust and then all this love. Agape. Wow. 🙂 Thanks everyone! You did it.

  2. I am so glad she will get her wish! After what she has physically gone through and the emotional strain that the cancer could return at any time, how could anyone look at that beautiful girl and tell her she doesn’t deserve this trip?

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