Bitter Dad Refuses 4-Year-Old Leukemia Survivor's 'Make-A-Wish' Trip

Say What!? 63

Make a wishThe Make-A-Wish foundation awarded 4-year-old leukemia survivor McKenna May a trip to Disney World. Sweet, right? It could have been, but parents are required to sign off on Make-A-Wish trips and McKenna's dad refused.

Why on earth would any parent do that?

According to Willie May McKenna, the trips should go to kids who only have 6 months to live -- and his daughter beat her disease.

If you ask me, it has more to do with McKenna's bitter child visitation battle with his estranged wife, Whitney Hughes.

These parents are using a sick child as a way to hurt one another. Whitney Hughes kept Willie May away from his daughter so now he’s going to keep her away from Disney World -- or maybe he really doesn't understand the seriousness of what his daughter went through.

Parents, who become so focused on hurting their ex, often don’t see that they are hurting their children. Sure, maybe this is something his ex might have enjoyed doing, but a Make-A-Wish trip for a little girl who is blessed enough to have survived leukemia is about a celebration. Anyone who has ever known a child who has lived through pediatric cancer knows that. My nephew, who survived leukemia himself at the age of 4, remembers fondly his trip to Disney World. He had spent a couple of years in hell with his treatment, as did his parents watching their baby go through that nightmare. They all deserved their trip to Walt Disney World. It was a little bit of sunshine in a whole lot of darkness.

Maybe he ought to be ecstatic that his daughter is in remission. Make no mistake little kids who have to go through cancer treatment go through hell. I’ve seen it first hand. She definitely deserves the trip. She survived but it could just as easily have been fatal. Children who survive cancer endure so much just in receiving treatment. Childhoods are sacrificed when a child is undergoing treatment; it’s virtually impossible to play outside and be carefree because the child’s immune system is destroyed. There are no play dates because every stranger introduces a new vulnerability to the child’s immune system. Children lose their hair, become moody and exhausted, and it takes everything inside of a small child to make it through the painful days filled with feeling sick and weak, having spinal taps, and being poked and prodded. The not knowing what the next day will bring is the worst. The Make-A-Wish trip is the prize for enduring all this hardship, for unrelenting strength in the face of uncertainty, and for surviving it all with grace. It is not the prize for being selected to die.

This dad is a dick. The price of Disney should not be death. Make-A-Wish is very familiar with these cases and they choose appropriately. Who is the father to take away a little bit of joy in his daughter's life just because he feels she doesn't deserve it? Parents need to get their heads out of their asses and leave their own disagreements behind, a child is not a tool to use to hurt one another because the only one who ever truly gets hurt is the child in the middle.


Image via Make-A-Wish Foundation

cancer, divorce, child custody


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cmjaz cmjaz

The dad IS a dick. I beard about this story last week. They don't know if she's 'cured' yet. She's only been in remission for a month. So she should go while she's feeling well.

Amanda Marie Anderson

You should include that she DOES get to go to Disney World, the family's gotten over 11,000 in donations since the story broke.

Amanda Marie Anderson

Just to clarify though, I do think the dad is a dick. And I do think she deserves to go, but luckily some people stepped up and now she can.

truth... truthrowan

Um, Dad said WHEN he cancelled the trip she was still going, just that HE Was paying for it, that the Make A Wish Foundation should use it's money for kids who were still sick, not for a kid whose dad could afford to Pay! Do I agree 100% with him, No, but he isn't just saying, "You can't Go" he's saying, "You can't go on Make a Wish's Dime, I'm paying." And he did that BEFORE They got any donations!


cmjaz cmjaz

I was reading this story from the first day it came out and there was no mention that he was paying for it. The mother didn't know it either which is why she was so upset and asking for help. I think he changed his story later to say he was paying for it so that he didn't look like a creep.

bills... billsfan1104

Cmj, same here. I have read the story and I.never heard that either and I agree with you.

nonmember avatar Guest

I don't think the dad is a dick. He was intentionally kept away from his daughter during her treatment and maybe he is emotionally scared at the thought of her doing a Make A Wish trip. Not to mention that the media stories on this issue have been highly distorted and biased to favor the mother. How about the mother is a bitch for keeping the father away? Two sides people.....

PonyC... PonyChaser

As usual, I suspected that there was more to the story than I read here, so I went looking. I did not find what Truthrowan found - that the dad was paying for the trip. But I DID find that the family has since raised more than enough for TWO trips to DisneyWorld.

I also found this story, which is the ONLY one that I found that includes a little more information on the dad:

~ He has not been with the mother for most of McKenna's life, he is married to another woman.

~ He was worried that McKenna's mother would use the trip to Florida for house-hunting, intending to move from Ohio to Florida, thereby cutting back even farther on his opportunities to visit his daughter.

And in comments on one of the many stories I read, it was also mentioned that the reason William May (the dad) didn't visit his daughter very much in the hospital is because the mother wouldn't allow it.

Yeah, Dad might be bitter, but Mom is no angel here, either. Knowing this family dynamic, I don't think I'd want my Make-a-Wish money going to them, either. Sorry, but I want a family (because it's the FAMILY that's going, not just the sick kid) who is grateful, not a COUPLE who puts their own egos in front of their child's well-being.

douxm... douxmusique

I don't think there's an issue with that. I firmly feel that make a wish should absolutely, 100% be for kids who are not likely to make, not kids who have beaten a disease. Let the family may for the celebration, which is well deserved. But my opinion is that donations are made to make a wish to ensure kids with no chance get to see their dreams come true. I don't care if that's his excuse or the truth. It's a good enough reason for me.

nonmember avatar kaerae

As usual, The Stir is about 2 weeks behind the news. The trip has been more than fully funded through donations, and the extra money has been donated to charity.

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