Here’s a beautiful story of cancer survival with a Disney twist to it! A great way to start the month of October, enjoy! ~M
Each year, as a child, when my Disney obsessed mother would spew the words, “were going to Disney World”, the tingly feeling of excitement was all that I could feel throughout my body. The only thing on my mind would be the feeling of pure happiness when walking through that gate at the Magic Kingdom. The anticipation of heading down Main Street and looking up to see the most beautiful thing a little girl could imagine – Cinderellas Castle. Now, even as an adult, those feelings have not changed one bit. To this day, while walking down Main Street, I still get that dumbfounded look of amazement on my face as soon as I catch sight of the castle. Its just, nowadays, after learning the true meaning as to why I go to Disney World each year, it makes my experience at Disney World that much more magical.
At the young age of 32, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. As she underwent chemotherapy treatments as well as radiation treatments, her and my father also had to take care of three children at home. My oldest sister, who was the age of nine, my middle sister, who was the age of five and myself, being one years old. With my father owning his own company at the time, health insurance for my parents was not available. The treatments, as well as taking care of three small children, left a huge toll on my family. Although there was help from family and friends, the problems were still present. With each bolder that came in our path, my father did not allow anybody to truly know the war that our family was battling. His main concern was for my mothers health and happiness and for our family to remain as happy and hopeful as possible. While my father did all he could to keep my mothers spirits high, he knew exactly what would keep her as hopeful as ever. As he truly understood my mothers true love and passion for all things Disney, my father made a very special promise to my mother. He promised that when she wins her battle against breast cancer, no matter what, he will take our family to Disney World each and every year. With my mother fighting with all she had and not giving up, my mother won her battle against breast cancer and my fathers promise became a reality.
Not only did my father make these Disney Vacations happen, the magic of Disney helped him out just a little bit. After the bills from the doctors and treatments were paid off, this left our family with massive money problems. Although it was a struggle, my father made sure we had just enough to get us to Disney World for the first time as a family. While on vacation, my parents decided to go to a Disney Vacation Club seminar, just to check out exactly what they had to offer. Once there, they became immediately interested but knew they could never come up with the amount that was needed to purchase it. After the vacation ended and we were back in New York, my parents received a very special phone call. It was the Disney cast member who had spoken to them at the seminar with some exciting news. With his knowledge of what my family has struggled with these past few months, he told my parents “Disney magic really does exist, congratulations, you now own a piece of Disney” and made a deal so my parents were able to become Vacation Club Members. Now my fathers promise was truly a reality for our family.
After many years had passed and many happy Disney memories made, my family got some unexpected tragic news. My mother, who was in breast cancer remission for 13 years, was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. Her oncologist suggested, instead of going back to chemotherapy and radiation treatment, to undergo a mastectomy and a hysterectomy, for her tumor was estrogen positive. Before her surgery, I will never forget one small sentence she had said to me that bellowed through my eardrums. She told me that all she wants, is to get better and go to Disney World. As a 13 year old girl, with full knowledge of exactly what was happening, I finally understood exactly what Disney meant to me and even more importantly, exactly what Disney meant to my family. It was an outlet of happiness, a way to not think about the hardships in our lives. No matter how hard times got, there was still that glimmer of happiness in your heart when you could feel that Disney Magic surround you. I understood why my mother wanted this as her wish and I then fully understood why my father granted her that wish, with not just a promise, but with a reality. Sure enough, with yet another miracle for our family, my mother made a full recovery from her surgeries and won her battle with breast cancer for the second time. As my mother requested and as my father promised, we returned to Disney World to partake in another magical Disney vacation. But not just any ol’ trip to Disney world, this vacation was filled with magic, happiness, accomplishment, and most importantly, hope. The hope that no matter what, miracles can happen and the hope that no matter what, if you just believe, your wishes can come true.
My name is Michelle Hesse and I am now 24 years old and I wanted to dedicate this entry to all those who have survived, are currently still battling or the families of those who have dealt with this awful illness. I wanted to share exactly what my family had went through and how the magic of Disney kept our families hope and spirits alive. I wanted everyone near and far to understand that no matter what, with a little bit of Disney magic and a tiny touch of hope, you can survive any battle throughout your life, no matter what that life battle may be.
This is a picture of our first Disney World Vacation as a family after my mother won her battle with breast cancer for the first time.
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