OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) — A pair of 5-year old best friends who both suffer from spina bifida are seeing their dreams come true, and will be heading to Disney World, thanks to a foundation that helps children with chronic illness or physical disabilities.
The simple task of taking a few steps into the arms of her best friend’s mother is a major accomplishment for Danielle Smith, of Minooka.
Both Danielle and her best friend Ava Maurella, of Homer Glen, have spina bifida. Their parents say both girls use leg braces or a walker to help them get around.
“Both girls are absolutely miracles, they’re both supposed to be wheelchair bound,” says Danielle’s mother, Cindy Smith.
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To make dreams come true for both of the girls, the Sunshine Foundation is sending them and their families to Disney World.
“My daughter wants to see the princesses, and the fairies, and Mickey Mouse and we’re so excited that this is going to be a possibility,” Smith said. “Without the Sunshine Foundation, this would not be a possibility for our families.”
Patty O’Machel and her 7-year old daughter Shea know just what Ava and Danielle are in for – the O’Machel family went last year.
“Shea determined that she can walk in water!” O’Machel explained. “She can’t stand or walk independently, but she could walk in water.”
Shea and her family were on hand at Advocate Hope Children’s Medical Center in Oak Lawn to present the trip to Ava and Danielle.
The Smiths and the Maurellas head to Disney World next month.
On the trip, they’ll be staying at the foundation’s Sunshine Village which is specially-designed for children with disabilities, including a handicapped-accessible swimming pool.