Dreams come true for best friends battling same rare form of cancer through Make-A-Wish
(CNN) — Juniper and Violet are best friends who are both battling the same rare form of cancer.
They also shared a dream to visit “the happiest place on Earth” — Disneyland.
Violet’s wish came true in December 2013, thanks to Make-A-Wish Foundation. When the nonprofit group granted 3-year-old Juniper’s wish in October, they offered Violet the chance to share the news to her beloved friend.
Violet, now 4, jumped at the idea, appearing in a heartwarming video posted on YouTube. The video has been viewed more than 100,000 times since being posted on Thursday, and it’s drawing unusually positive comments for the video platform, which is notorious for its anonymous, at-times snarky commenters.
Dressed in the same glittering Cinderella costume she wore on her own Make-A-Wish trip, Violet twirls around her bedroom, bubbling with excitement.
“You’re going to Disneyland!” she squeals.
Danielle Ouellette, Juniper’s mother, says her daughter cheered when she saw the video.
“She was super excited to see Violet and she knows what Disneyland is, so she got really excited,” she said.
The girls met in November 2013 and became treatment buddies at Seattle Children’s Hospital while battling retinoblastoma, a cancer that forms in the eye’s retina. Violet lives in Gig Harbor, Washington, and Juniper lives in Everett.
The girls formed an instant bond when they first met, Violet’s mother, Shenay Spataro, said.
Hospital staffers became accustomed to seeing the girls playing together, Spataro said.
“They just hugged each other for so long. Danielle [Juniper’s mother] and I were both in tears,” she said.
The girls bonded over their love of Disney characters. Violet always wanted to meet Mickey Mouse and Juniper is a huge Minnie Mouse fan.
When Make-A-Wish decided to grant Juniper’s wish to go to Disneyland, asking Violet to break the news seemed the obvious choice. The foundation grants 14,000 wishes each year, with Disney engaging in one of every two wishes the nonprofit grants.
“The two tiny voices of a 3-year-old and a 4r-year-old paint the perfect, simple picture of what we do at Make-A-Wish every day: give hope and strength to kids battling life-threatening medical conditions, helping them feel better and sometimes, even get better,” Josh deBerg, a spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, told CNN.
Ouellette says Juniper’s trip to Disneyland helped her heal after the emotional and physical toll of her cancer treatment.
“During her cancer treatment, Juniper shut down,” she said.
The cancer treatment destroyed her right eye, and she grew embarrassed after being fitted with a prosthetic.
But Juniper regained her confidence during her trip.
“She was so excited at Disneyland to share who she was with everyone. We couldn’t ask for better closure.”
Violet and Juniper are both in remission. They continue to have magical play dates together.