Make-A-Wish Foundation gifts Soldotna girl customized movie theater room
SOLDOTNA, Alaska (KTUU) - From dressing up to singing some of her favorite Disney songs, 8-year-old Hannah Stevens of Soldotna loves everything that has to do with Disney princesses.
Stevens is also a big fan of going to the movies, but when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia — or ALL — in 2019, going to theaters became a dangerous endeavor, magnified even more during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The whole time she was in treatment, it wasn’t safe for her to go to a regular movie theater. She would be exposed to too much, and she loves the movies,” Jennifer Stevens, Hannah’s mom, said.
One of Hannah’s favorite things about the movie theater is the snacks.
“Popcorn ... soda ... Skittles,” she listed off.
Hannah has battled cancer for over three years. In December 2021, she finished her last round of chemotherapy. Her father said that throughout her treatment, she was a “trooper”, which he links to her Down Syndrome diagnosis.
“In her mind, we’re pretty convinced that she thinks every kid goes through this. She doesn’t think that she’s different from any other kiddo,” Glenn Stevens, Hannah’s dad, said.
That’s where the Make-A-Wish Foundation came in. Glenn said Hannah’s original request was a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
With the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Stevens was able to turn a spare bedroom at her parent’s house into a personalized movie room. The room includes movie posters, recliners, popcorn machines, a projector and lots of Hannah’s favorite movie snacks. Everything in the room her parents said is interchangeable.
“As she ages, and as her interests change, we can change the theme of her theater room to match those interests,” Steven, said.
It’s allowed Hannah to keep the magic of her wish around for years to come. Hannah is now considered in remission and continues to travel to Anchorage once every 30 days to be monitored and undergo blood tests.
Those interested in helping to grant wishes for children in Alaska can donate airline miles to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They can also donate cash to help grant wishes. There are currently more than 60 kids in Alaska are waiting to receive a wish.
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