Carlee Vasquez sees more of the inside of the hospital than she’d like.
The bright and talented eight-year-old who loves everything to do with music has multiple conditions that make being a “normal” kid difficult. She has both tetralogy of fallot – a heart condition – and diamond blackfan anemia – a rare and incurable disease. Her complex medical life results in countless appointments across many hospital departments every month.
Small but mighty, Carlee has undergone two heart procedures to work on her heart defects, and will require more as she gets older. Combined, the two diagnoses have resulted in other related medical issues, like a cleffpalate, chronic lung disease, speech delay, and vision and hearing problems.
She is followed by more than 10 departments at Children’s Hospital and requires numerous appointments as part of her regular routine. On average, she has five to eight medical follow-ups each month.
That’s why stepping out of that routine for a short Disney-themed vacation was so important for Carlee, her dad Charles, sister Autumn and extended family.
In December 2019, the Vasquez family had Carlee’s wish granted to go on a Disney cruise – right around the time she turned seven – spending time with her favourite pair Minnie and Mickey Mouse.
Charles told Black Press Media that having this wish come true provided one word: hope.
“Medical appointments, surgeries and these medical challenges, they become a routine and become part of the lives of families like us that other families don’t experience,” he said.
“Going through the process of planning the wish, executing it, communicating with Make-A-Wish Foundation and getting the kids excited – that entire process leading up to the wish is a big thing [brings] big hope for kids like Carlee.”
Critically ill kids put on a Brave Face every day. Now you can, too, in support of Make-A-Wish.
Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions, and we invite you to join us in helping children’s wishes come true. Click here to buy your masks today!
By purchasing a pack of three masks designed and manufactured right here in British Columbia for children, youth and adults, you’ll be supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
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