DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - The Make-A-Wish Foundation is now accepting airline miles from frequent flyers who want to make a difference. A Decatur family has already benefitted from the generous donations of others.
15-year-old Zoe Watkins is a bright, energetic cheerleader at Austin High School. A few years ago, there was a major health problem.
"She was very athletic at the time in fifth grade, so doctors thought she had pulled a muscle," said Zoe's mother, Marcie.
It turned out to be cancer, which Children's Hospital surgeons removed, as well as a portion of Zoe's liver.
"She went through chemotherapy from May until September," Marcie recalled.
During that time, they learned Zoe qualified for the Make-a-Wish program.
"All those weeks of laying in bed, missing school, going through her whole summer, she always saw commercials for the Disney Cruise," said Marcie. "The private island was the big thing; she wanted to find out what that private island was all about."
Even years after the experience, Zoe has a tough time capping her excitement as she describes one of the shows.
"They came out and the curtains opened," Zoe describes, "Princess Tiana, she came out and I got that DVD for my birthday. When we went up there, she was there!"
"Instead of us having the memory of us being in the hospital, the pain that she had to go through with the treatments… those memories were all replaced with that beautiful, beautiful private island, the wonderful treatment on the boat; it was unbelievable," said Marcie.
Zoe's favorite memory of all revolves around family and all the magical things that happened during the trip, including meeting her favorite characters.
"That trip was a way to say we made it through it, and now we can celebrate her life," Marcie added.
If you would like to donate your frequent flyer miles to the Make-A-Wish program, you can do so at their website.