The Making of Maddie’s Wish

Maddie Umbach is a quiet, but self-assured, girl in Grade 3 at Westvale Public School. Her teacher, Mrs. Quinton, describes her as “a role model to us all.” This is because Maddie is living with juvenile arthritis. Mrs. Quinton explained that although Maddie deals with pain on a daily basis, she doesn’t complain and is determined to keep going.

Today, Maddie got a bit of relief thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Maddie’s wish was to see a volcano and a mermaid. She has a fascination with mermaids and all things that live in sea. Volunteers from Make-A-Wish surprised Maddie in front of her whole school with a trip to Hawaii for her and her family. Her mother, Mandy Umbach, told us that “everything was a big surprise for her.” To top it all off, Maddie was given a custom made mermaid dress based off a drawing she had created. Her father, Shaq Umbach, was thrilled to see her dress. “It really looks exactly like the dress she drew in the picture,” he said. “Even the little star on the belly-button.”

Maddie, her parents, and little sister and brother will be leaving in a week to the Aulani Disney Resort. She will be able to get up close and personal with sea creatures, and even see a volcano for the first time. Maddie’s mother was excited that they will be able to have this family time together. Maddie’s illness makes it hard for her to run and play for too long because she gets tired so easily. Her mother is looking forward to seeing her daughter live out her dream in Hawaii and “just be able to be a kid.”