McKenna May, 4, is a little girl at the center of a controversy. McKenna has suffered from leukemia and was put through a long treatment that has thankfully proven successful. During her illness, she had two wishes: to be rid of cancer and to go to Disneyland. However, getting the first wish and led to the loss of the second wish. While Make-A-Wish Foundation granted the trip to Disney, her father William May of Toledo has forbidden her to go on the trip because she is no longer dying. While the mother, Whitney Hughs, has given her consent, both parents must sign for such a trip.
While I disagree with his view, William May is trying to do what he believes is the principled thing. He told his daughter that these funds should be used for children who are dying and that she is now well again. The reaction of the public against him has been extremely hostile but he insists that he is trying to do the right thing in his view for children who need the program. He believes the foundation was created to grant wishes for children who have less than six months to live and those children should receive this support.
I disagree with May because he is ignoring that the foundation itself says that his daughter still qualifies. She has gone through a terrible ordeal and was in fact dying from the disease. Thus, he appears to be making a point that the foundation itself rejects as a criteria.
In looking at the foundation’s website, it does refer to a child who currently has a life-threatening condition, but it seems sufficiently generalized to encompass a little girl who has had the condition:
Step 1: Referral
We rely on medical professionals, parents and children themselves for referrals. Children who have reached the age of 2½ and are under the age of 18 at the time of referral who have not received a wish from another wish-granting organization may be eligible for a wish.
Step 2: Medical eligibility
We determine a child’s medical eligibility with the help of the treating physician. To receive a wish, the child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition – i.e., a progressive, degenerative or malignant condition that has placed the child’s life in jeopardy.
Step 3: Finding the true wish
We send one of our enthusiastic wish teams to learn the child’s one true wish. These passionate volunteers connect with wish children and help explore their imaginations for the experience that will delight and inspire them.
Step 4: Creating joy
Our wish granters create an unforgettable experience driven by the child’s creativity. It’s an incredible experience that enriches not just the lives of the children and their families, but often an entire community.
McKenna’s mom and grandma are now trying to get the little girl to Florida by asking for donations.
Susan McConnell, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish for Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, said that McKenna still qualifies and that she deserves the trip. Moreover, she noted that “[t]he doctors are the ones who determine if she is qualified.”
This little girl went through 15 spinal taps to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread, multiple chemotherapy treatments, skin burns and vomiting from the chemo, and steroid injections that compromised her immune system. She deserves the trip to Disney.
The mother and grandmother are irate with the father who they say went to few of the treatments and only secured visitation rights this year. He says that he wanted to be more involved but was kept away by his wife and the grandmother. However, he insists that his position is due to principle and not to anger. If so, I believe his stand is misplaced in light of the Foundation’s continued approval of the trip.
This would be a good moment for Disney to step in to support the trip. This is one little girl who needs to go the “Happiest Place on Earth.”