Caption: Captain Kindness of Make-a-Wish Canada makes an entrance.
Branlyn Community School was the site of a top-secret visit this week from Make-A-Wish Canada. With superhero Captain Kindness in tow and music from the movie Frozen playing on the school’s PA system, the purpose of the visit was to grant a wish to an incredible Kindergarten student who has overcome a lot of obstacles.
Madison Bennett has been dealing with a heart condition called supraventricular tachycardia since she was a baby. She also experiences seizures, which adds an element of unpredictability to her daily life and learning. Extended hospital stays have taken a toll on Madison and her family, which also includes siblings Jordan and Megan, both students at Branlyn Community School as well.
“Madison is always so happy, even when she’s had to stay at the hospital,” said older sister Megan, who is in grade 5. “I think being happy helps her get through everything.”
Having a child who’s battling a life-threatening condition often means that families miss out on a lot of the regular activities and special occasions many others get to experience.
Caption: Madison poses with parents Michelle and Shawn and siblings Megan and Jordan after the surprise announcement.
“You play the hand you’re dealt, and you make the best of the situation,” said Madison’s mom, Michelle. “We’ve gotten used to being in and out of the hospital, and dealing with one diagnosis after the other.”
This past Wednesday, to a full gymnasium of Madison’s fellow students, Captain Kindness delivered the surprise: Madison’s wish – to visit Disney World with her family – was going to come true. Her family appeared with a giant balloon in the likeness of Elsa from Frozen, while a shocked Madison made her way to the front of the gym wearing a princess dress she designed herself.
“For families with a child who is very ill, being able to spend quality time together is incredibly special,” said Branlyn Community School Principal Trudy Bell, who donned a tiara for the “princess celebration” during which the wish was granted. Branlyn Community School students, who were privy to the secret surprise, prepared cheers and held up banners to add to the excitement.
The family is Disney-bound at the beginning of next month, and all of them are overjoyed at being able to experience this together.
Caption: Branlyn Community School students add to the excitement with a banner and cheer for Madison
“This will be the first time we go on a plane,” said sister Megan, who points out that she isn’t afraid of heights, but her brother is.
Make-A-Wish is a charitable organization which grants the wishes of children battling life-threatening medical conditions. Its aim is to add joy, hope, and strength to the lives of families. Madison’s wish was granted by the Southwestern Ontario chapter of the charity, thanks to the support of donors throughout the region.