BALTIMORE — At 4 years old, Avery is mesmerized as she scrolls through pictures on her dad's phone of her family's trip to Disney World last December.
Avery made a wish to go there and Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic granted it.
"Just an amazing experience for the whole family, really," said Jeff Doehne, Avery's dad. "And I love the Spiderman ride," said Avery.
Avery dressed like a princess, dined inside the castle, and ate Mickey Mouse ice cream.
"And the two Cat in the Hat rides," said Avery.
The preschooler may come off as shy and sweet, but her parents say she's also incredibly strong and brave.
"It was just over a year ago, Avery was admitted to Johns Hopkins Pediatrics ICU with a cardiomyopathy, which is essentially a heart failure," said Doehne. "They told us that evening that she was going to have to go through a heart transplant and that really started and changed our lives."
During Avery's 90-day stay, a family friend coined "BrAvery," a fitting slogan for the then 3-year-old who had to put off playing dress up while she was being treated in the hospital.
"So she's still on the list today, but right now she's doing really, really well. And we think a lot of the things from what she got to experience with Make-A-Wish and even that time in the hospital and getting to plan that, meet with volunteers, and talk all about it was definitely a big sign of helping us uplift and keeping ourselves excited," said Doehene.
Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic is closing in on their 10,000th wish for local children diagnosed with critical illnesses. Last year, the regional chapter granted 451 wishes.
The chapter, now in its 36th year, says 840 local children are expected to be diagnosed with an illness this year and for every wish granted, there's at least one other kid waiting.
Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic is asking for help to grant the wishes of more children. On Saturday, April 27 Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic is holding their Walk for Wishes Baltimore at the Inner Harbor. WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii will emcee the event and Avery is a "Wish Kid Captain." On May 4, the organization will hold the same event in D.C. To sign-up or donate, click here.