Little girl's wish to meet "Dora the Explorer" comes true

PLATTSBURGH A little girls wish has come true, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Give Kids the World. Fantasia Wells, a five-year-old girl who underwent a liver transplant last October, recently received her wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to meet popular cartoon character Dora the Explorer, much to her delight, said Fantasias grandmother, Sally Baker. Dora is her world. Everything she has is Dora. Her room is Dora, her clothes are Dora, her shoes are Dora. When [Make-A-Wish representatives] asked her what her wish was, she told them she wanted to see Dora, said Ms. Baker. With the help of Give Kids the World, a not-for-profit organization with the similar focus of Make-A-Wish to provide children with life-threatening illnesses and their families with a memorable experience Fantasia and her family were able to be flown to Kissimmee, Fla., to have her wish granted. There Fantasia and her family stayed six days at Give Kids the World Village, a no-cost resort for children and their families. In addition to the attractions at the resort, a special visit was arranged for Fantasia with who else? Dora the Explorer. She was so excited when she saw Dora that she just stood there looking at her with this big smile, said Ms. Baker. They were dancing and clapping together and high-fiving each other. Fantasia and her family were also treated to a visit to Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World, where she met several other characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Cinderella. The near week-long trip coincided with Fantasias fifth birthday Aug. 20, giving her the perfect birthday gift, said Ms. Baker. Fantasia was diagnosed with colostatic liver disease in February 2002, having most recently undergone her transplant surgery at the Presbyterian Childrens Hospital in New York City, where she was added to the Make-A-Wish Foundation list. Since her surgery, Fantasias condition has improved, with everything going good, said her grandmother. Shes actually starting to grow, said Ms. Baker. She grew an inch. Though shes growing, Fantasia still measures the height and weight of a two-year-old, Ms. Baker said. She has a two-year-old brother and when you stand the two side by side, people think theyre twins, she said. Her mental state is also at the stage of a two-year-old, though that, too, is improving, she added. Doctors give Fantasia a positive prognosis, expecting her to eventually catch up to children in her age group. The doctors, paired with all who have made donations to organizations like Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World, are the ones who make the lives of children like Fantasia a little better. Its people like them that make dreams like hers come true, said Ms. Baker. In further efforts to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a karaoke competition will be held at Murphys Tavern, Peru, in March, at which Fantasia is expected to make an appearance. More information will be published when it becomes available. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.wish.org. To learn more about Give Kids the World, go to www.gktw.org .

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