Thorsby student receives Disney cruise

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011

Addy Gilliland, center, celebrates with parents Krystal Patterson and Trent Gilliland on Oct. 20 after receiving her wish for a Disney cruise from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Seven-year-old Addy Gilliland didn’t know what to think as she opened the door to her second grade classroom Thursday afternoon and found her parents, relatives, teachers and classmates clapping and saying “Surprise!”

A huge smile spread across Gilliland’s face as Make-A-Wish volunteer Tammi Horton told her that the Make-A-Wish Foundation had granted her a five-day Disney cruise starting Saturday, Oct. 22.

Gilliland, of Thorsby, was born without a bladder, and in February 2006, she became the first person to ever undergo a kidney transplant with no bladder, her mother said.

“We just didn’t know if it was going to work, but she’s done remarkably well,” said Krystal Patterson, Gilliland’s mother. “It’s hard to explain how I feel. She is our miracle.”

Patterson and Horton said applying and being approved for a “wish” was a year-long process.

“Her doctor had to recommend her for one,” Patterson said. “She knew she had gotten approved, but we were lying to her and said it was going to be next year so she’d be surprised.”

Sure enough, Gilliland had no idea until the party, and her excitement was evident as she ran into Patterson’s arms and said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

After the cruise, Gilliland’s parents are taking her to Disney World for the first time where she will be attending “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.”

“She is so deserving,” said Josh Allen, teacher assistant at Thorsby School. “Addy is a blessing. Even her sickest days, she is still just so sweet.”