Sadie Gentry, 11, of Lewisburg is going to Disney World with her family next month, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the youth group of North Boulevard Church of Christ in Murfreesboro.
"This is our third year in a row to partner with Make-A-Wish," said Youth Minister David Skidmore. "Three years ago, our teens asked for a challenge that was bigger than themselves. They were seeking a way to demonstrate extraordinary love to someone in our community." More than 200 teens raised $6,000 to adopt Sadie's wish to meet the princesses at Walt Disney World.
Sadie knew she was going to a party in Murfreesboro Sunday afternoon, March 9, but she had no idea what a party it would be. When the caravan of family and friends arrived at North Boulevard Church of Christ, Sadie was met by costumed Disney characters who gave her a glass slipper and made her a character in her own princess story. Traveling by limousine and horse-drawn carriage, Sadie made several stops and met characters from Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White, who all gave her gifts and clues about where to find the other glass slipper. Sadie was still in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt at this point, so the next stop was at Profiles Hair Salon where she got a manicure and pedicure and was dressed in a beautiful princess gown and tiara. Now Princess Sadie was ready walk down the red carpet to her throne at the ball. Lumiere and other Beauty and the Beast characters welcomed her, singing "Be Our Guest". She found the other glass slipper and finally heard details of her trip to Disney World.
The youth group had put a tremendous amount of effort in to making the afternoon special for Sadie. Their minister is immensely proud of them, saying, "In granting wishes, I have seen our teens transformed into a generation who can bring great change to a hurting world."
Make-A-Wish Found-ation grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Sadie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in July 2007. She is facing two more years of chemotherapy, but her mother, Angel, is cautiously optimistic that Sadie can go back to regular school when it starts in August. Make-A-Wish Executive Director Michelle Rosen explains, "Granting a wish is more than just providing a child with a vacation or special event. A wish provides a child and family with an experience that restores hope to their lives and provides a joyful moment…We are so grateful to the incredible teens at North Boulevard Church of Christ not only for raising the funds to adopt Sadie's wish, but also for their extraordinary efforts to give Sadie a special day she will never forget." Angel agrees, saying, "We were amazed at how much work that youth group had done!"
The Gentrys wrote to this paper in November to thank the people of Lewisburg for the benefit they held that month for Sadie and for all the support the family has been given in the months since her diagnosis. Angel is still very grateful and says she won't mention any names of people who helped because this would risk leaving someone out.
Their church family at Westvue Church of Christ has done a lot, she says. The whole family is looking forward to the trip to Disney World with their own very special princess.
If you want to make a donation towards Sadie's medical bills, there is an account in her name at First Commerce Bank in Lewisburg.
To contribute to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee, call 615-259-2324 or visit www.midtnwishes.org.