Wish stories

Lacey's wish...

“I wish to have a unicorn-themed party”

6 years old, Bury St Edmunds

Congenital heart defect

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Living with a rare and serious heart condition has meant that Lacey has seen a large chunk of her six years in hospital, undergoing tedious treatments, frightful surgeries, and lengthy hospital stays. but being surrounded by family and friends during her wish to have a unicorn-themed party meant that “for a day the trauma of what she’s gone through was forgotten,” as Lacey's mum Melanie explained.

Lacey's story

January 2023

For most parents, pregnancy scans are usually a joyous time filled with anticipation. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for Lacey’s mum: “What should have been a simple scan turned into probably one of the worst days of our lives. Our worlds were turned upside down when we heard the doctors say, ‘There's something wrong with your baby’s heart’.”

“We were numb, we were walking into the unknown,” said mum as she described what it was like after a second scan with a foetal cardiologist confirmed that her unborn baby had a rare heart defect. “We thought to ourselves, could we do this? What’s next?”

“The next few months were a mixture of emotions and endless appointments.”

In September of 2017, Lacey was born surrounded by concerned doctors. She was quickly rushed to the PICU to receive the treatments and medications which were vital to her survival.

At just the age of six, Lacey has undergone three surgeries, a collapsed lung, various MRI scans, catheter labs where small tubes have been inserted into her body to access her heart, and a diagnosis of a further rare condition.

It comes as no surprise that Lacey has spent a large chunk of her life in hospitals around doctors, instead of her family and friends. The COVID pandemic saw Lacey even more isolated, forcing her to shield, once again keeping her away from her friends and family. Whilst most of her friends were going on play dates, running around at break time, and enjoying school - Lacey couldn't.

But despite going through what most would view as dire times, Lacey remains strong and positive, determined to take on any challenge that life swings at her. “She’s not afraid of anything at all. We try to protect her because of her heart condition, but she’s outside at the top of the climbing frame right now!” said Mum.

Lacey's wish

April 2024

For mum, Lacey’s wish came as a surprise: “She had spoken about going to Peppa Pig world- then one day, out of the blue, she turned to me and said ‘I want to have a party with princesses, unicorns and my friends!’”

Like most kids, Lacey’s imagination knows no bounds and she has a fond love for all of her many unicorn toys.

But when mum recalled Lacey’s time in hospital, the why behind her wish became more apparent: “She spent less time with her friends when she was in hospital. When we were shielding she missed out on social play for four months, which could be why she wanted to be around her friends!”

During her wish, Lacey was ecstatic as she was surrounded by family, friends, and love.

Lacey steps through a doorway glancing ahead at her wish

Lacey arrives at her wish

The wish commenced with Lacey and her family heading to The Ickworth Hotel the day before the big event. After checking in, Lacey was treated to a luxurious spa treatment - one of the highlights of the trip. After receiving the VIP treatment and being pampered from head to toe, Lacey settled down for the night, full of anticipation for the next day.

On the day of her party, Lacey was beaming with excitement. After getting glammed up and meeting her princess party hosts, Lacey’s 42 guests started to arrive, the social butterfly greeting every one of them! Throughout the party, Lacey’s friends and family enjoyed facepainting, a host of fun games, singing and dancing, and an Easter egg hunt on the hotel grounds. Princess Lacey was also treated to a special unicorn ride through the hotel, as well as a princess coronation and cake-cutting ceremony at the end of the day.

Lacey, wearing a unicorn horn and facepaint, feeds a pony wearing a unicorn horn

Lacey feeds a unicorn

How Lacey's wish helped

April 2024

When we asked mum what Lacey’s favourite part of the day was, she said “There was so much that she loved, she loved the spa day and staying over. But she would probably say ‘I rode a unicorn in the hotel!’”

Friends and family who supported Lacey throughout her heart condition journey attended the special day. "Seeing her with all the people that have just given her so much throughout her life was amazing, we could feel the love in that room for her,” said Mum.

Part of the day involved celebrating Lacey’s ‘super heart’, which as mum told us “Made her prouder of her surgery scar and more confident of it. By having her wish, she’s learned that it's okay to be different.”

When talking about the importance of a wish, Mum told us how “Some families can't do what Make-A-Wish has done. I could never have afforded to do everything that Make-A-Wish and the hotel pulled together. It gives these kids a needed sense of importance.”

Lacey with unicorn facepaint and horn smiles at the camera with balloons alongside her

Lacey celebrating at her party

"“Thank you so much to everyone who has made Lacey’s wish possible! They have given her memories that will last a lifetime. For a day the trauma was forgotten, she could enjoy the outcome of all that she’s gone through.”"

Melanie, Lacey's mum

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