A shopping spree through a toy store is a dream many children have. For one Montgomery girl, that dream became reality, with help from Magic Moments, an Alabama organization that grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.
On Friday, Toys-R-Us in Montgomery opened thirty minutes early for that very special shopper.
Kalasia Hawthorne is four years old and in many ways, she's like any other little girl. She likes toys. "Purple toys, green toys, a lot of toys," she says.
Pink is her favorite color, and when she made her shopping list for Santa, there were plenty of pink items to check off. "I like dolls too," she says.
But Kalasia is special. Last year, she was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of blood cancer. The past year has been filled with doctor's appointments, tests and treatments. It's taken its toll on the entire family, including Kalasia's mother, Kenyatta Hawthorne, who was pregnant when her daughter was diagnosed.
That's why Magic Moments wants to give this family a special day, one that they can remember on the tougher days. Magic Moments has granted wishes for more than 4,000 children in Alabama since the organization was founded 30 years ago. "It is something for them to look forward to, something to bring joy to their life instead of so much pain that they go through daily, and it's just giving them a gift that they will always remember," says Magic Moments Executive Director Joyce Spielberger.
Most wishes cost about $4,000, which is funded by private donations or corporate sponsors. A group from Industrial Partners in Montgomery helped sponsor Kalasia's wish, a shopping spree. They met her at the toy store Friday with a handful of balloons. At the end of thirty minutes, Kalasia had filled two shopping carts with everything on her list.
Even after everything she's been through, though, Kenyatta Hawthorne says her daughter isn't only thinking of herself. "She'll say, Brishanna might like this, my stepdaughter, or Maya might like this, so she wasn't just thinking about herself," said Hawthorne.
Kalasisa is also giving away a toy, she says, to another child in need, something special for Christmas, just like this day her family says they'll never forget.
Magic Moments is a non-profit organization and depends on your tax-deductible donations to keep granting wishes for children in Alabama. To find out how you can help, visit their website here.