Little Aideen (9) lives her dream to be a Barbie Fashion Designer thanks to Make A Wish
Published 08/04/2016 | 13:00
A Galway girl who is recovering from a life-threatening condition has had the opportunity to travel to Barbie HQ in Los Angeles thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Aideen Conneely (9) has myelodysplastic syndrome, also known as pre-leukaemia, and at many points throughout her illness, her family feared she would not make it.
“Aideen was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome in September 2010 and we were told that she needed a bone marrow transplant,” said Aideen’s mum Rosie Conneely.
“After the transplant she was the textbook case of things going good. However five weeks later it had come back stage 4. They had told us then that she had very little chance of survival,” she said.
Throughout the next few years Aideen remained critically ill and underwent chemotherapy, which took its toll on the little girl and her siblings Darragh and Rachel.
“One evening was the hardest evening,” said Rosie.
“I was always saying to the kids ‘She’s really sick’ I automatically thought they knew how critical she was. But Darragh was kicking a football I think in the room and Rachel was drawing at the table and he said ‘It’s not like she’s going to die’ and I said ‘That’s exactly what I’m trying to tell you’.
“To see her here today it’s huge. It’s amazing.”
Throughout her most difficult days, Aideen found comfort in Barbie and her dream to visit the company’s HQ in Los Angeles was recently granted by the Make a Wish Foundation.
“Aideen is such a lover of Barbie and we applied for her wish in January 2014. As a family we travelled to Mattel Headquarters in Los Angeles, where she was a Barbie fashion designer for the day. Her dream was just allowed to become bigger and bigger because of Make A Wish and it is amazing, the work that they do.
“On the trip, Aideen got to travel in a pink limousine and the team had set up her own office. She was brought through the whole process and designed her own doll from head to toe,” she said.
“As a family, we hadn’t been on a trip in over three years.
“It was so lovely to have this time together as a family and it was a magical trip. Our other children were so relieved that Aideen is better after so long on the brink, it was nice to have the time to spend together as a family unit,” she said.
Aideen’s mum is currently raising funds in Galway to support Make-a-Wish Day which falls on April 8 and said she cannot express how much the dream trip meant to Aideen and her family.
“Make a Wish offers such an important gift to children and families of children who are terminally ill or have suffered life-threatening conditions and our trip is something I’ll forever be grateful for.,” she said.
To donate to the Make a Wish Foundation visit www.makeawish.ie