By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
MELBOURNE -- When Kylie Jones of Cocoa was diagnosed with Leukemia at 2 years old, she was asked by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida what she would want the most.
Three years later, at the tender age of 5, Kylie knew what she wanted -- a camper.
"Kylie thought about asking for a trip, but she wanted something she could do over and over again," said Misty Jones, Kylie's mother.
Although Kylie had only been camping in tents, Mrs. Jones said her daughter has always been enamored with campers.
"My son, Benjamin, had the Goofy camping movie. After she watched that movie, she loved campers," Mrs. Jones said.
On Saturday, April 19, after nearly five years of waiting, Kylie was surprised with the one thing she has wanted for so long -- a 2014 non-motorized camper of her very own.
Together with Make-A-Wish, Giant Recreation World in Melbourne helped to make Kylie's wish come true.
"Giant Recreation World in Melbourne assisted Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida with a similar wish back in 2012," said Christina Alfieri, wish coordinator. "We greatly appreciate the support they have provided to help us fulfill such a unique wish request."
Ms. Alfieri said that after determining a child's medical eligibility, a volunteer Wish Team visits the child and family to determine the child's wish. The chapter then approves the wish and the team gets to work creating the magic.
"All of the foundation's funding comes from private donations --individual and business donations, foundation grants, memorials, gifts-in-kind, events organized by the chapter and events hosted on behalf of the foundation by clubs, schools and service organizations," Ms. Alfieri said.
"When Kylie was interviewed by Make-A-Wish, she showed them the exact camper she wanted," Mrs. Jones said.
Kylie, who is a true outdoorsy girl, was absolutely astonished when she was surprised with her very own camper.
The fifth-grade student, who is currently in remission, was joined by her mother, father, brother and representatives from Make-A-Wish and Giant Recreation World.
"We have found that many families see the wish as a 'reboot' to their lives," Ms. Alfieri said. "Difficult times that are full of doctor appointments, hospital visits, treatments and more are often forgotten, for a little while, and new memories of fun and laughter are created."
"Kylie has been through so much at such a young age. Even though she's in remission, she has osteoporosis and is about to undergo testing on her heart," Mrs. Jones said. "We are so excited for her to receive such a tremendous gift and to continue to make new, awesome memories together as a family."
For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.WishCentral.org.