“All you need is faith and trust, and a little bit of ...”
If you’re a Disney enthusiast, you know that quote from “Peter Pan” ends in “pixie dust,” the magical substance that makes kids and dogs and even pirate ships fly.
Now Pixie Dust Wishes is trying to spread that enchantment to kids with special needs.
Jaime Miller is a State College mom who does a lot for her four kids, including Emma, 10, who has Down syndrome.
Over the past year, she and her family knew they wanted to do more for others, especially for families like theirs that deal with special needs. The thing was, they didn’t know quite what they wanted to do.
Then, at a gala for St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy, they won a raffle and scored a family vacation. It didn’t take long for the Disney-loving clan to decide just where they wanted to go.
After the trip, everything clicked.
“I thought, ‘this is what I want to do.’ This is what I want — to have other people have this feeling,” Miller said.
The reason isn’t just roller coasters and fairy-tale princesses.
“We chose this because Walt Disney World caters to individuals with special needs in such a great way,” Miller said. “They pretty much roll the red carpet out for you.”
Disney park visits are a frequent dream for kids battling terminal or chronic illnesses or with special needs. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has made more than 100,000 Disney-related moments into reality, starting with the organization’s very first wish in 1981.
But Miller looks at it not just as a way for the kid in question to have a great time, but for the whole family to have an amazing experience together, with as few problems as possible.
“Disney provides contacts for places where you can rent things like special needs strollers,” she said. “All the crazy stuff that you need to navigate in your everyday life, you don't have to when you are there. They create these special magical moments.”
Pixie Dust Wishes started down the road to becoming a nonprofit in January, and Miller said 501(c)(3) charitable status was achieved within the past week.
The next step is raising the money to get started on granting wishes to Pennsylvania families.
“This is not just limited to State College. We have a network of people in the Philadelphia area raising money,” Miller said.
The first Pixie Dust fundraiser will be 2 to 4 p.m. April 23 at St. Joseph’s, where the whole idea got its start, with a vendor market.
The first wish recipient has not been picked, but Miller said they hope to see the wish granted by the end of the year.