Make-A-Wish grants ailing Palmyra girl’s wish — a trip to Disney World

May 1st, 2014

Make-A-Wish is sending 4-year-old Leah Poleshuk, who suffers from ulcerative colitis, to Disney World in May

By Chris Sholly
chrissholly@ldnews.com @cgsholly on Twitter
Lebanon Daily News: Local News: www.ldnews.com
 

HERSHEY >> Leah Poleshuk got a surprise when she arrived at the Red Robin restaurant in Hershey on Tuesday night.

The 4-year-old Palmyra girl and her parents, Stephen and Kimberly Poleshuk, were treated to a Make-A-Wish send-off party celebrating a wish come true for Leah, who suffers from a life-threatening medical condition.

Kimberly Poleshuk said the family was told in November that they were selected for the trip, which they will start May 10.

“We were very excited for her. She’s never been to Disney World,” Leah’s mother said. “It’ll be a lot of fun. She asks every day if she’s going to get her wish today.”

A smiling Leah Poleshuk, 4, of Palmyra looks through a gift basket at the Hershey Red Robin restaurant with father Stephen and mother Kimberly

A smiling Leah Poleshuk, 4, of Palmyra looks through a gift basket at the Hershey Red Robin restaurant with father Stephen and mother Kimberly on Tuesday evening. The family held a celebration dinner after Make-A-Wish decided it would fulfill Leah’s wish to go to Disney World. (JEREMY LONG — LEBANON DAILY NEWS)

Leah suffers from ulcerative colitis, which is an inflammatory bowel disease.

“She’s been in and out of the hospital multiple times, multiple blood transfusions,” her mother said. “She’s spent most of the past year in the hospital. She’s has an operation and a colostomy bag to help reduce some of the symptoms.”

The parents also are looking forward to the trip.

“We need a fun break away from everything,” Kimberly said. “Every one from the organization has been great and friendly. It’s just been a very nice and uplifting experience.”

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy, according to a news release.

Wish granter Sherrie L. Davis said Leah’s celebration Tuesday happened to coincide with World Wish Day — the day the very first Make-A-Wish was granted.

“It’s such an incredible experience to be able to help these children who are going through so much,” Davis said. “The really nice thing is that it’s not just the Wish children who get something out of this because it’s also for the family.”

The family will spend six-days and five-nights at Give Kids the World, a special resort in Florida for all the Make-A-Wish children, Davis said.

Leah Poleshuk tries on a pair of Minnie Mouse ears at the Hershey Red Robin

Looking forward to a trip to Disney World, Leah Poleshuk tries on a pair of Minnie Mouse ears at the Hershey Red Robin on Tuesday as mother Kimberly watches happily. (JEREMY LONG — LEBANON DAILY NEWS)

Children are recommended for the program by a doctor, a social worker, friend or family member, Davis said. After the recommendation is made, Wish officials verify the eligibility of the child for the program, and then a Wish Granter is sent to interview the family.

Red Robin, Leah’s favorite restaurant, provided the food and a large gift basket for the family.

Make-A-Wish has granted more than 240,000 wishes since its inception in 1980. Make-A-Wish Philadelphia & Susquehanna Valley serves Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Montgomery, Perry and Philadelphia counties and recently celebrated the granting of its 5,000th, according to a news release.

For more information, call 215-654-9355 or visit philasv.wish.org.