HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) — A Cleveland family’s Make-A-Wish trip was almost ruined because of the bad weather, but the local community helped make a secondary plan possible.
Eleven-year-old Rah-Janae was heading to Disney World on Thursday morning for her Wishes Can Happen wish, but her flight got canceled.
Rah-Janae was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 9 years old. She first made her wish to go to Disney in 2020.
“Last year, we thought we had her all planned for her birthday in March. She was so excited, and at the last minute, her doctor didn’t want her to go,” says Wishes Can Happen community relations director Madelyn Sweeney.
When the trip got canceled due to the weather, Sweeney says she was heartbroken for the family.
“When I received the call that that flight was canceled, it was just absolutely crushing. You could just hear the despair in the mom’s voice, and you could hear Rah-Janae in the background. It was so sad,” says Sweeney.
When The Grand Resort general manager Kelly Denman found out that the flight had been canceled, she felt called to help.
“Ironically, we crossed paths with Ed Ridenbaugh, who is the all-county professional driver. He was going to pick up a family in Pittsburgh. We decided, ‘Oh my gosh — well, if they’re coming through town, why don’t they just stay in our Santa Suites to at least enjoy something for Christmas?” Denman says.
“It seems like we are always put in the right place at the right time,” Sweeney says.
Thanks to a Christmas miracle, Rah-Janae and her family will be staying in The Grand Resort’s Santa Suites until Monday at no cost.
“I truly believe everything happens for a reason and like I said, paths crossed and we were able to finagle so many things so quickly,” Denman says. “It just really really worked out splendidly.”
“It’s really crazy how people don’t know you and don’t know your story or anything and before they do, they already have help jumped in,” says Tonya Amey, Rah-Janae’s mother.
Denman says Santa planned on visiting Rah-Janae’s Santa Suite On Christmas Eve.