In the evenings when her mom would say, “Time for a shower!” Hannah dreamed of the freedom to swim like a mermaid - but not in her bathtub, in the ocean.
“Hannah was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and had a port in her chest for chemo,” said her mom, Valerie. “The port can’t get wet, so it really put limits on her.” All of five years old, Hannah fought the cancer with all her might. For a while, traveling anywhere besides the hospital for chemotherapy was not feasible as she was extremely sick.
When at last, months later, her port was taken out, Hannah was overjoyed to begin planning her wish. She knew exactly what she wanted to do. “She told us she wanted to be a mermaid, specifically, ‘to sit on a rock in the ocean with her mermaid tail showing’ so that she could show off her mermaid beauty,” said wish-granting volunteer, Lindsay.
“She wanted to be a mermaid like Ariel because she has never been to the ocean, and she chose Virginia because she liked the name of the state,” says Lindsay. “And she didn’t want to go to Florida because of alligators. She is not a fan of ‘big, scary gators!’”
Basking in the sun and feeling the gentle waves, Mermaid Hannah and her new friend, Mermaid Hale, spent an entire day living their best ocean life. They swam together, sang together and even played fun tricks on Hannah’s family.
Though Hannah is still fiercely battling her disease, Valerie says the wish gave her daughter a powerful, new outlook on life. “It showed her that anything is possible, especially with Mermaid Hale by her side,” she said. “We all hope that other children, who are battling their biggest fight, are able to experience what she got to.”