“She was absolutely speechless," recalled Andrette Holder of her daughters reaction to arriving at Disney World for a dream vacation.
The trip, provided by the Sunshine Foundation, was the first real family vacation Grace and her twin sister Georgia had experienced due to the demands of Grace's illness.
Diagnosed at 9-months old with cerebral palsy, the family has spent most of their vacation time in hospitals as Grace underwent tests and treatments.
“That's what they think vacation is," said Andrette.
A friend had told her about the Sunshine Foundation, a group based in central Florida dedicated to granting wishes of children with chronic illnesses and physical challenges. She submitted their story to the foundation and Grace's wish for a trip to Disney World was granted.
She said she almost lost her hearing when she told the girls about the trip one day after picking them up from school.
“They literally screamed for like 10 minutes," she said with a laugh.
Andrette said spending money on extras like vacations has not been an option with the constant costs of medical bills and travel to hospitals and clinics. The trip gave them a rare opportunity to get away and have fun without worrying about the expense.
The family stayed in Florida at the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village. The 22-acre resort was built with the needs of children with health challenges in mind. Each cottage has a unique theme the Holders stayed in the Legoland cottage where Legos could be found on every surface.
“They were just amazed," said Andrette.
She said her daughter had long wanted to visit Disney.
“It was just something she had just always dreamed of doing," she said.
The experience was truly the trip of a lifetime and she said she's so grateful to the Sunshine Foundation for making it happen.
“I think it was more than we could ever have imagined. There are no words for what it meant," she said.