12-Year-Old Cancer Survivor is Granted Her Disney Vacation Make-A-Wish

Riley Ellenson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April of 2016

FARGO, ND —The Make-A-Wish Foundation is surprising a 12-year-old girl with the wish she’s been hoping for.

After months of surgeries, MRIs and checkups, Riley Ellenson, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, is getting the chance to meet her favorite Disney Princess.

“She really wanted to go to Disney to meet Moana, the princess,” said Cherie Hendrickson, a Wish Granter at Make-A-Wish Foundation. “The hurricane went through Orlando and Riley is positive she’s not going to be able to go. She’s pretty much given up hope that she’s going to be able to go to Disney World, so this is really going to surprise her.”

Riley was smiling from ear to ear when she found out about her upcoming trip.

This is a vacation her mother said will keep the entire family in high spirits.

“You need something to look forward to,” said Michelle Ellensen, Riley’s mother. “You know, sometimes you get discouraged. You think ‘I’m not changing. She’s not getting any better. It’s just the monotony of worrying and going to your doctor’s appointments and doing this and doing that. But boy with this, there’s a spring in her step, she’s excited. It’s changed her, which changes us because how she feels effects us in every way.”

Riley and her family will head to Disney World this November for her 13th birthday and Riley already has planned out exactly what she’ll do first when she arrives in Orlando.

“Boy, she wants that autograph book and she wants to get everybody to sign that thing,” Ellensen said. “All the princesses, all the characters.”

Riley, like her favorite princess Moana, is also hoping to visit the beach so she can see the ocean for the first time.

She will have a checkup on November 1st, before flying down to Florida on November 4th.

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