In February 2015, 13-year-old Callie discovered an unusual bump on her neck. After a number of scans and a surgical biopsy, Callie's doctors found tumors in her shoulders and lungs; and diagnosed her with Metastatic Ewing’s Sarcoma.
While Callie is from Alabama, her heart lives in Scotland. It's the land from which her ancestors hail, and Callie and her family love all things about the country's culture. Callie shows this through routinely wearing her family's tartan and participating in the archery team at her school. Her affection for Scottish culture even shows through her favorite Disney princess, Merida from Brave.
When Make-A-Wish visited Callie, there was no doubt that her wish was to visit the land of her ancestors. Specifically, she wished to attend her family's ancestral games, which would happen at the Braemar Gathering in Edinburgh.
In September 2016, Callie's wish came true when she and her family set off for Edinburgh, Scotland. Their time in Scotland was filled with outdoor activities, including horseback riding through the Scottish Highlands and handling and feeding birds of prey during a falconry experience. The family also enjoyed exploring a spookier side of Scotland while on a "Ghost Bus" tour with the Edinburgh Necrobus and on a tour of the haunted vaults housed under Edinburgh's streets. Their tours continued with a boat trip around Loch Ness, stops at several castles, and a trip to the Culloden battlefield.
Callie’s wish was fully realized when she and her family attended the Braemar Gathering though. While there, they enjoyed her ancestral family's Highland Games and met their Clan Chief. They also got to see Queen Elizabeth II, who stopped in to visit the games!
Overall, Callie and her family had a great time visiting Scotland. More than that, the trip helped Callie to forget about her struggles with cancer and gave her the chance to enjoy traveling with her family. Her father also said that the family was "going to use this as a jumping off point for a better, healthier future for the entire family."