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Huntsville Community Called to Action to Help Grant a Wish

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By: Shelly Haskins

If you weren’t planning to go to the Huntsville Christmas Parade this year, here’s a reason to change your mind: If you do, you can help make a little girl’s dream come true.

Like many little girls, 9-year-old Khushi has always dreamed of being a princess.

“She likes Aurora, Ariel, Elsa, Cinderella, all the Disney princesses,” said her mother, Vaishali Patel.

What she didn’t dream of was a two-year-battle with neuroblastoma, a very rare form of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue and most frequently starts in the adrenal glands. Though there are fewer than 20,000 cases of neuroblastoma diagnosed in the U.S. each year, it is insidious because it more frequently attacks children, and is the most common form of cancer in infants.

So Make-A-Wish Alabama and its sponsors are asking the Huntsville community to come out Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. to help make a dream come true for a little girl who has endured a nightmare.

“This wish will not be magical or transformational without the help of the community, and we are asking for their help,” said Erin Slay-Wilson, marketing coordinator for Make-A-Wish Alabama.

Here’s how you can help. Be there along the parade route. Make signs expressing love and support for Princess Khushi and wave them high so she can see them. Call out to her as she passes by in her horse-drawn carriage and show her how much her kingdom cares for her and wants to slay the dragon that threatens her castle.

“Khushi would like to have a crowd cheering her on during the parade,” said Melissa Fierstine, director of program services for Make-A-Wish Alabama. “She could have wished for anything in the entire world and she wishes to be a princess. We are working hard to make this the best day of her life.”

Lots of people and organizations have already worked to make sure Khushi’s wish comes true. In addition to Make-A-Wish Alabama, the Huntsville Chi Omega Alumni, the Von Braun Center, Comfort Care Hospice and the radio station Mix 96.9 have joined forces to plan and deliver this dream for her.

Khushi’s day will begin at 10 a.m., and she will make several stops to collect “essential princess items,” said Valerie Gerber, director of development and marketing at Make-A-

“We’re going to send her on this royal quest to gather the items that she needs to transform into Princess Khushi,” Gerber said.

She’ll find those items – a tiara, a royal scepter, a beautiful gown and the key to the royal suite -- at James Clemens High School, Sparkman High School, Landers McClarty Subaru and the Broadway and Associates development group downtown. These are all places where students and employees raised money to make Khushi’s wish come true.

Then will spend the day being pampered like a princess at the Embassy Suites hotel downtown.

She and her family will have a royal feast, and then she’ll have professional hair and makeup artists prepare her for a royal photo shoot before the parade begins at 6 p.m.

Finally, like Cinderella off to the ball, she will climb into a horse-drawn carriage in front of the VBC and join the parade and wave to her adoring supporters and smile a princess smile.

Let’s be there to cheer her on.

Make-A-Wish® Alabama
400 Vestavia Parkway
Suite 402
Vestavia Hills, AL 35216
(205) 254-9474