State College non-profit makes Disney dreams come true

Local News

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Olivia Peters loves to visit Disney World.

Olivia Peters rides the carousel at Disney with her family
Photo taken by: Georgianna Photography

“So when we took her to Disney for her first time and she found out she could get on a roller coaster and go just as fast as her sister, it was the light of her life,” Karina Peters, Olivia’s mom, said.

The 9-year-old has an extremely rare, genetic disorder known as Pontocerebellar Hypoplaysia.

“Probably only about 500 kids in the world have her condition,” Karina explained.

A trip to Disney lets her forget about the daily struggles.

The Peters family (middle) joined by other families in front of Cinderella’s Castle
Photo taken by: Georgianna Photography

“You just saw a different side of her,” Karina said. “You weren’t thinking about the medications, the therapies, the struggles we deal with every day. We are having a good time, we are enjoying Disney and we are leaving life behind for a week.”

Some of Olivia’s favorite things to do at Disney are to ride the roller coasters and meet all the princesses. Her latest trip was in 2019. It was made possible by a State College based non-profit called Pixie Dust Wishes.

“We are granting these wishes and we wanted to give my daughter’s love of Disney to these other people who had disabilities and special needs,” Jaimie Miller, the founder of Pixie Dust Wishes, said.

Jaimie’s 14-year-old daughter, Emma, has down syndrome. She’s the inspiration behind the organization.

“I always say the rest of the world there’s all of these natural obstacles and hurdles in the way for people,” Jaimie said. “And when they go to Disney, they make everybody else wait and the people that need special accommodations and have disabilities are the ones that go first.”

Jaimie Miller’s daughter, Emma, at Disney
Photo taken by: Georgianna Photography

Jaimie has always been an advocate for people with special needs and disabilities and was looking for a way to give back to the community. She started Pixie Dust Wishes in January 2017.

“The name came to be just because you have the feeling that these people are being sprinkled with pixie dust,” Jaime said.

To date, more than a dozen wishes have been granted.

Each recipient is posted to the website with a description to educate people in hopes of creating a more inclusive and accepting society.

Wish recipient surprised in the hospital with a trip to Disney
Photo taken by: Georgianna Photography

The first wish went to Sophia, a little girl who was losing her eyesight.

“You know in this particular situation, they were unsure of what her progression would be with her diagnosis and to be able to give her those memories while she was able to experience that was wonderful,” Jaimie expressed.

Seeing these moments are some of Jaimie’s favorite memories.

Wish recipient takes picture with Buzz Lightyear at Disney
Photo taken by: Georgianna Photography

“I mean I have received some of the most beautiful thank you notes,” she said.

They’re memories so special for the Peters family that once they got back from their wish trip, Karina joined the board.

“That’s all I want to do is be able to continue to give the next child the same blessings that we had,” Karina said.

Pixie Dust Wishes is currently accepting nominations. You can visit their website to see who is eligible.

The organization is also always looking for volunteers to help. You can contact the non-profit on their website, Facebook or Instagram.

Send Maggie Smolka an email at msmolka@wtajtv.com or Facebook message if you know someone or an organization that’s Making it Matter in our community.

Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss