It seems like most of Olivia Carson’s trips over the past year have been to the hospital, but thanks to Make-A-Wish she’s going to Hogwarts!
The 13-year-old cancer survivor got a big package in the mail Jan. 18 that step-dad Chris Whitfield kept hidden until family members could make it to the house for an impromptu opening and celebration.
And indeed it was from Make-A-Wish. Olivia spent more than a few minutes ripping layer after layer of colourful wrapping paper off – blue, green, yellow, and red -- before she got to the box that was underneath it all.
Included among the colourful tissue paper in that box full of gifts was a letter.
“We are pleased to inform you that your wish to go to the Wizardry World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida will be granted. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment,” said Steve Butler in the letter. “This wish will take place in some time in the near future, exact dates will be kept secret for now. We look forward to welcoming you to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
It was signed by Steven Butler, headmaster and head of the school’s Wish Granting Department, Ministry of Magic.
While Olivia was excited, Mom Laura Whitfield was not only excited but thankful.
“It’s just so amazing that Make-A-Wish even exists – to help kids that have gone through the worst of the worst,” she said, “to treat them and take their mind off it, to just pamper them for a little while for all they’ve been through. It’s incredible. And without donations this wouldn’t happen. A lot of people are giving.”
Olivia and her parents will be going on the trip and will meet up with Chris’s family who are from the southern US.
“They’ll join us down in Orlando,” Laura Whitfield said.
“I’m very happy,” Olivia said. “I’ve been to Florida but I’ve never been to Orlando.”
She’s been a Harry Potter fan for a long time.
“I kind of got into it when I was a little kid because my mother used to watch the movies,” Olivia said. “So I kind of got into it when I was little.”
Olivia and her mother went on the explain all about Harry Potter and Hogwarts and the legendary school that Harry and his friends attended.
Compared to last year at this time, Olivia feels much better.
She went through numerous surgeries and treatments for a fast-growing form of cancer called medulloblastoma located towards the back and bottom of the brain in the cerebellum. A CAT scan on March 7 revealed the cancer and a 15-hour surgery the next day removed most of it. But chemo therapy and radiation were the norm until early this month when those treatments were completed.
Olivia doesn’t know for sure when she’ll be going to Orlando because of continuing doctor appointments, gaining weight back, and getting her strength up. But she’ll have lots of fun stuff to do in the meantime because the box from Make-A-Wish also contained some Harry Potter books, a Make-A-Wish teddy bear, Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit, and a giant all-day sucker.
And oh yes, a magic wand – one like Hermione Granger uses.
And she might have some homework to do as well, Butler sent a list of things she’ll need as a first-year student, like work robes, a pointed hat, protective gloves, and a winter cloak. Plus she’ll need the course books and Butler supplied her with a long list, starting with The Standard Book of Spells. And she’ll need a cauldron, glass or crystal phials, a telescope, and brass scales.
At the end of the letter from the School of Wizardry and Magic was a cautionary note:
“Parents are reminded that First Years are NOT allowed their own broomsticks,” it said.
And remember the colours of the wrapping paper? Olivia knew the significance. They’re Hogwarts house colours. Blue is Ravenclaw House, green is Slytherin House, yellow is Hufflepuff House, and red is Gryffindor House.
She knows a lot about Hogwarts. Asked if she already knew how to cast spells, Olivia said she might know a few.
When it comes to Make-A-Wish, the organization has been making it happen for a lot of years.
“Along with the national office, eight regional chapters grant magical wishes to children in need from coast-to-coast,” the group’s website said. “Make-A-Wish Atlantic Provinces is an affiliate of Make-A-Wish International, the largest wish-granting organization in the world, making dreams and wishes come true for more than 450,000 children since 1980.”
Go Online: https://makeawish-atl.ca/