From Ronald McDonald House to Disney World
“Seeing Paityn’s face light up, watching how excited she was.” That’s how Angie Elston described her favorite memory from her family’s recent trip to Disney World.
Elston of Valley City is mother to four-year-old Paityn Elston whose dreams came true when she was granted a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., by the Make-A-Wish North Dakota Foundation.
At just two months old, Paityn was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare liver disease that affects newborns. She spent the next year in and out of hospital stays in Minneapolis, while her family stayed in the Ronald McDonald House.
Paityn received two liver transplants in just one week in August 2009. “It was a long journey,” Paityn’s mother Angie Elston said, but Paityn’s finally feeling well.
“Paityn was sick at such a young age for so long,” Melissa Prosby, aunt to Paityn, explained.
About a year ago, the Elston family found out that Paityn would be granted a wish, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Angie said that Paityn’s doctor wrote a referral last May to the wish granters. “We were very excited. She’d fought hard,” Angie said about learning of Paityn’s wish being granted.
“She was able to go and have fun instead of stay in the hospital. She could go somewhere and smile,” Angie said.
“Paityn and her family didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy many of the childhood milestones and memories that so many of us take for granted,” Prosby said.
“She got to pick where she wanted to go. She didn’t say much, so we kind of helped her knowing what she liked,” Angie explained.
Paityn and her family: father, Jason; mother, Angie; baby sister, Lainey; and grandma, Nancy, spent a week making unforgettable memories while visiting four Disney theme parks as well as Universal Studios and Sea World. Paityn even enjoyed a special lunch at Disney’s Epcot Park on Sunday.
Although it was the princesses that Paityn was initially excited to see, she particularly adored Mickey and Minnie Mouse and all the other characters she met at Disney World. Paityn also enjoyed the carousel at the resort. “We couldn’t get her off of it,” Angie explained.
“This trip gave Paityn and her family the opportunity to create memories with Paityn living carefree, full of innocence and joy, and without any pain,” Prosby said. “They will cherish (it) for the rest of their lives,” Prosby said.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is the largest wish-granting organization in the United States. “Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has given hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions,” according to their website.
“They really do make kids’ dreams come true. It’s a good organization to donate to, that’s for sure,” Angie gratefully remarked.