Should Make-A-Wish Trip Go To Child Who's Free Of Cancer

By: CNN (Posted by Kion Hudson)
By: CNN (Posted by Kion Hudson)

(CNN)-- The Disney World dreams of a 4-year-old Ohio girl who’s recovering from leukemia are on hold this week after plans for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to pay for the trip were scrapped.

The girl, McKenna May, completed intensive treatment in June for the cancer she was diagnosed with more than two years ago. It was that treatment that prevented her from going to Disney when the Make-A-Wish trip was first discussed in January 2011, McKenna’s grandmother, Lori Helppie, said Thursday.

But McKenna is now on once-a-month aftercare visits that would allow time for her to make the trip to the Magic Kingdom, her mother, Whitney Hughes, told CNN.

However, McKenna’s father, who was never married to Hughes, says now that she’s free of cancer, Make-A-Wish’s money would be better spent on terminally ill children who will never get to experience Disney otherwise.

He’s refusing to sign paperwork that would allow the foundation to pay for McKenna’s trip.

“There’s children out there that deserve a trip like this that will never get to experience it,” May, 28, told CNN Thursday. “My daughter can go when she’s older and can remember it. I’ll pay for it.”

Rather than pay upwards of $3,500 for McKenna and her family to go to Florida, May suggested the group just get the girl a $200 swing set for her backyard.

Susan McConnell, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish for Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, told the Sentinel-Tribune of Bowling Green, Ohio, that McKenna’s certainly entitled to the organization’s help.

"The doctors are the ones who determine if she is qualified," the paper quoted McConnell as saying. McConnell did not immediately respond to messages left by CNN Thursday.

Hughes agrees with McConnell, saying her daughter endured a lot during her treatment and deserves the Florida trip.

"She's really excited," Hughes told the Sentinel-Tribune, which first published accounts of McKenna’s story this week. "It's all she's talked about for the last three months."

After May refused to sign off on the trip last month, Hughes withdrew her request with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and tried to raise money privately, putting out collection jars around the area where they live and setting up an online donation site.

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