Mary MacDonald spends week in Disney World with family

Jim Day
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Prince Edward Island girl gets dream come true through Children's Wish Foundation

John Likely, co-owner of Peakes Quay Restaurant and Bar in Charlottetown, is pleased he helped raise funds to help children like 11-year-old Mary MacDonald receive a wish through the Children's Wish Foundation. Mary went to Disney World in Orlando with her parents and her brother in February.

Disney World proved to be the right tonic following a heap of nastiness endured by 11-year-old Mary MacDonald.

“It provided a great diversion,’’ Danny MacDonald says of the trip in February enjoyed by his family of four, including his wife Lillian and the couple’s children Mary and Jordan, 12.

The trip was made possible by the Children’s Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children between the ages of three and 17 who have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

That, sadly, was the case with Mary on Nov. 18, 2012 when the young Charlottetown girl was diagnosed with AML Leukemia. Mary spent the next five months in the IWK Health Centre in Halifax where she underwent four rounds of chemotherapy. The treatments made her very sick.

“Once they knew what she had they hit her as hard as they could (with chemotherapy),’’ says Lillian.

Mom lived in her daughter’s room the whole five months while dad traveled back and forth from P.E.I., juggling his work with time spent by his girl’s side.

“It was a long old go,’’ recalls Lillian.

Fortunately, Mary’s cancer is in remission. Her parents describe her today as a normal girl with plenty of energy.

The special trip certainly provided a lot of opportunity for Mary to rip into one fun activity after another.

The family spent three days at Disney World and one day each at Sea World and Universal Studios.

The MacDonalds stayed at Give Kids The World Village, a 70-acre non-profit storybook resort with restaurants, a pool and a busy activity centre.

“We had a great time there,’’ says Lillian.

A quite shy Mary clutched her furry lion doll — the Children Wish Foundation’s mascot named Roary — and let her parents do all the talking.

Danny says the family offers “a heartfelt thank you’’ to the Children’s Wish Foundation and Peake’s Quay Restaurant and Bar for making Mary’s wish come true.

The business, owned by John Likely and Liam Dolan, has now funded seven wishes for P.E.I. children.

Each year Peake’s Quay sets a fundraising goal of $10,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation to grant a wish to an Island child who is living with a life threatening illness.

Likely extends a special thanks to the Peake’s Whart Merchants Summer Concert Series for their contribution toward the wish, as well as to Muddy Buddy for donating their performance fee for the season finale wrap up night.

Likely says he is committed to this special cause.

“As soon as you do it once and you see how happy the kids are, it’s pretty hard to stop doing it,’’ he says. “It just takes their mind off things and lets them enjoy life.’’

The foundation is currently working on granting wishes for 12 Island children.

Organizations: Children Wish Foundation, Disney World, IWK Health Centre Sea World Concert Series

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Jordan, Charlottetown Halifax Give Kids The World Village

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