Paden City Girl Receives Wish To Meet Cyrus
BY MIRANDA STOKES
Cadence (Cady) J. Pierce, 13, of Paden City hasn’t lived an ordinary life. Cadence was diagnosed with a rare, inherited metabolic disease called Propionic Acidemia shortly after birth. She went into a coma at only two weeks old and it was a little over a month before she was awake and able to come home. Not long ago she fell into another coma and survived several set-backs including critical platelet drops, a diagnosis of a heparin allergy, and brain swelling. According to her mother, Leslie, less than 150 people have the disease and remarkably Cadence is the only child in West Virginia to ever be born and live with the disease. Propionic Acidemia prevents the body from breaking down protein which leads to a toxic, acidic build-up. As of now there are no medications to treat or rid her of the life-threatening disease. Leslie says they walk a tight rope everyday.
But Cady also hasn’t lived an ordinary life in a positive way. She got to do something very special that most kids her age would never get to do. Cady was granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to meet Miley Cyrus. Cadence and her family-younger brother D.J. and parents Leslie and Jay-were flown to Los Angeles where they were treated as celebrities and Cady and her brother D.J. got to meet-and-greet the star of Hannah Montana.
Cady’s condition was extremely delicate in the first two years of her life. While for the most part the family is able to maintain her health now, everyone still fears that each day may be the last. Nearly every activity most people all perform regularly is a huge undertaking for Cadence. Activities like eating or going to school pose a mortal threat to Cady’s life. Her disease can be triggered by many things and the disease causes a cascade of internal problems that happen quite rapidly. “We try not to let the disease run our lives but everything has to be planned with the disease in mind,” says Leslie.
Cadence took a real set-back following her second coma. Her health regressed greatly and she quit talking, walking, and eating. She was very irritable and unwilling to regain her strength mentally and physically. Leslie said taking her back to school was a real struggle for several weeks until Cadence realized it was too difficult to fight against all of the “grown ups” who were working to get her back to a stable condition. She eventually turned around and got her stamina back, but unfortunately the coma affected her hearing; she now wears aids. When asked how the family handles Cady’s life-threatening condition Leslie said, “The support we’ve received from teachers and staff has been instrumental in getting all of us to where we are today.”
One night while the family watched Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert featuring the Jonas Brothers in 3D, Leslie got the idea about applying for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Leslie contacted the foundation who then contacted Cady’s physician. Soon thereafter foundation representatives visited the Pierces and asked what Cady’s wish was. It took a little while to grant her wish due to Cyrus’ tour, but in the second week of April the Pierces got a phone call from Pamela Haymond from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern West Virginia out of Morgantown explaining the World Wish Day event to be held in Los Angeles. This event was the first of its kind wherein wish-granting celebrations throughout the United States and in 35 other countries were held. This date was also the 30th anniversary of the first wish which eventually created the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A young leukemia patient named Chris was granted his wish to be a police officer in Phoenix that day. Fortunately, since the Pierces have family in California, the foundation generously granted an extra day for them to visit relatives.
On April 22 the foundation sponsored a pizza party for Cady and her friends in celebration of her upcoming trip to L.A. On April 26 a limousine took the Pierces to the airport, where they were lodged in the Hyatt Hotel. Once in California they also received a rental car equipped with GPS and a hotel stay in Beverly Hills.
Thirty families participated in the World Wish Day event in L.A. Buses picked up the families and the children received gift vouchers to the Disney Store. They also received Mickey Mouse ear hats with their names embroidered. A World Wish Day celebration concert was held at The Grove, a popular entertainment, dining, and shopping district in L.A. which included a performance by Miley Cyrus. The Make-A-Wish families were seated in a VIP section at the front of the stage. Following the concert the families were treated to a meal at a restaurant complete with face painters, magicians, and meet-and-greets with the cast of Hannah Montana.
During Cady’s one-on-one meet with Miley Cyrus, Cady received a personalized autographed picture and had several pictures taken with the star. Cady’s brother, D.J., also took part in meeting Cyrus. Leslie commended Cyrus on her friendly and accommodating nature during the visit.
The next day the Pierces were treated to a day at Universal Studios and flew home the following day and again had a limo ride back to their home. Although this was not their first time in California, this was their first time visiting tourist attractions and experiencing the luxuries provided by the foundation. It goes without saying this four-day trip is set apart from any other for the Pierce family. Leslie said the foundation took the best care of them and covered everything for the trip, alleviating all the burden. Although the experience was particularly for Cady, a burden-free vacation was well-deserved by all the Pierces.
Leslie commented that quite often Cady now randomly chimes, “I can’t believe I got my wish. That was the best day of my life!”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Wishes granted by the foundation typically fall into one of four categories: To Be (e.g., a ballerina, a firefighter), To Meet (e.g., a favorite celebrity or athlete), To Have (e.g., a computer, a playhouse), or To Go (e.g., to a theme park, to Hawaii). In 2009, the foundation granted nearly 20,000 wishes-more than 13,000 for children in the United States and almost 7,000 for children outside of the United States and its territories.
Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world. With the help of generous donors and more than 30,000 volunteers worldwide, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted more than 240,000 wishes around the world since its inception. The Make-A-Wish Foundation of America is partnering with Make-A-Wish Foundation International for World Wish Day. To share the power of a wish on World Wish Day, refer a child, make a donation, spread the word, or give unused frequent flier miles, etc. For more information visit www.wish.org.