Community Recreates Christmas Parade for 7-Year-Old Girl Too Sick to Attend

After a debilitating brain disease kept a Wylie girl from making it to the annual Christmas parade, the town brought the parade to her

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Just a week after the streets of downtown Wylie were alive with its annual Christmas parade, the community came together to reenact the tradition after hearing one of its own had been too sick to attend.

Ily Mease, 7, suffers from Chiari 1.5 Malformation, a condition her mother said means her brain is too large for her skull, which forces it down onto the spine.

That results in debilitating migraines Brittany Mease said transforms her daughter into a completely different child.

"She becomes almost nonverbal. It's just a migraine that you can't handle. She wants to be in a dark room. She wants to be upside down because the pressure… her brain's already filled to the max in her skull and the pressure just builds up until you can't take it anymore. She'll crawl. She'll stop walking. She'll chew on her fingers," Mease said.

On top of that, Ily's been diagnosed with Syringomyelia, epilepsy and other medical conditions.

She's already had three brain surgeries and is less than two weeks out from her fourth, which the family fears will mean she'll spend Christmas in a hospital bed.

"We really want to be at home. I think everybody does. We don't know. We're just hoping for the best and prepared for the worst," Mease said.

When a friend of the family sent Ily's story to the city of Wylie, letting them know her symptoms had kept her from attending last week's Christmas parade, Wylie Fire and Rescue worked on a plan to make it up to her.

"I got a phone call from the fire department," Mease said.

They first asked if they could swing by with a fire engine, which Mease said would've made Ily's day.

Then, Santa himself called to see if he could tag along.

By Saturday, Mease was in tears as she watched a parade of fire engines, miniature bikes, football players, girl scouts and more put on a show for a couple hundred neighbors who lined the streets to show their support.

"It's kind of indescribable. There's not a word or a lot of words I can put into a sentence to really explain it. I don't know. It just feels really good to know that people care," Mease said.

While Ily got her own chance to ride the parade route on an antique fire engine, a crew quickly set up a tree in her front yard.

The crowd gathered to hear Mayor Eric Hogue do his annual reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" before they joined him in a countdown to see Ily ceremoniously flip the switch to light her very own tree.

"It's kind of a culture around here that we take care of each other when somebody's down on their luck or needs help. We just have a really good family culture in the city of Wylie," fire Capt. Andrew Johnson said.

Ily even got a few minutes with Santa. And when he asked what she wanted for Christmas she told him simply, "a cure."

To learn more about Chiari or to follow Ily’s journey, visit https://www.facebook.com/ilytoinfinity/.

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