Dad Refuses Make-a-Wish Trip for 4-Year-Old Daughter

The young leukemia survivor may be heading to Disney World anyway thanks to donations from strangers

By Alexander Benedict
|  Thursday, Jul 19, 2012  |  Updated 12:31 PM CDT
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The father of a four-year-old cancer survivor refused to let his daughter go to Disney World through Make-a-Wish.

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She made a wish — but her dad, on principle, refused to grant it.

Four-year-old leukemia survivor McKenna May had her dream of going to Disney World with the Make-a-Wish Foundation halted by her father — but thanks to all the attention her story got, she may be heading to Disney World anyway.

McKenna's father William May refused to sign off on the trip for his daughter, who spent two years in treatment for cancer, because he considered it an improper use of the foundation’s donations.

"I think it should go to kids who only have six months to live," May told the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune.

In order for a child’s wish to be granted by Make-A-Wish, both parents must sign off on the consent.

In some rare circumstances, courts have intervened to grant an exception to that rule that both parents must agree — but McKenna’s mother and grandmother worried that a court order would not be enough and pulled their request from Make-a-Wish.

Susan McConnell, Make-A-Wish Foundation’s CEO and president for Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, said she supported letting McKenna go to Disney through Make-A-Wish.

"She's been through a lot," McConnell said. "What I really feel bad about is she is stuck in the middle."

But in lieu of approval from McKenna’s dad, her mother Whitney Hughes and grandmother Lori Helppie put out collection jars around Bowling Green, Ohio, to meet its $3,500 goal.

They also set up a fund at Fifth Third Bank in Bowling Green that attracted 120 phone calls, according to the Sentinel Tribune.

"I thought it would travel by word of mouth," Hughes said, but she told the Sentinel Tribune she was surprised by how widely her story had gone viral.

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