OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of kids with life-threatening illnesses across the country -- and one Oklahoma teenager is getting to live her dream.
The vacation her family left for Thursday morning is already making a difference in their lives. The Couey family is going on the trip of a lifetime.
"We're going to Disney World," Alan Couey said. "I think I'm excited as they are."
Melanie, 16, picked the destination.
"Just to get to meet all the Disney characters," Melanie said.
"She's always wanted to go ever since she was little," Alan said. "She used to bug me all the time about it, 'Daddy, I want to go to Disney World; maybe one of these days when we're rich'?"
Her dream is finally coming true because of the Make-A-Wish Foundation; an organization dedicated to granting the wishes of children, like Melanie, with severe illnesses.
Melanie is in a wheel chair because of an operation in 2005. Doctors said she had a brain tumor, and immediately went into surgery to remove the mass.
"She got all the tumor out, but in the process she also damaged Melanie's brain stem, and so that's left Melanie disabled," Alan said.
Melanie is the last of 27 children in central Oklahoma whose wish has been granted over the past several months because of a large donation that came from students at Edmond North High School in 2008. Through fund raising events like a dance-a-thon, the teens brought in $185,000; the largest donation in local Make-A-Wish history.
"This week is the week their child gets to be a kid," Kandy Parsons with Make-A-Wish Foundation said. "They're not a kid with a medical condition, or suffering from a life-threatening illness. They are a child that's getting to be a kid, and they're having the time of their life."
Students in Oklahoma City, Yukon, and Duncan, Oklahoma are working to raise funds for the organization, so that more children's wishes will be granted.