Young cancer survivors given princess treatment at Disney on Ice

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POSTED: Friday, May 9, 2014 - 5:00am

UPDATED: Friday, May 9, 2014 - 1:59pm

Most girls dream of being a princess. But few actually get to become one.

Four lucky girls had their dreams come true Thursday afternoon, in part because of all they have had to overcome.

"Three out of the four have had cancer themselves, and one's a sibling," explained Whitney Craig, children's program coordinator for Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge.

The four young girls were escorted into a meeting room in the River Center prior to a performance of Disney on Ice. They were met by five stylists from Paris Parker salon. The girls had their hair, makeup, and nails done in the styles and colors of their favorite Disney princesses.

"I feel bad for our neighbors, because she's always in the back yard singing, loudly, all the Disney songs," Lindsey Litchfield said of her four-year-old daughter who was one of the young cancer survivors. "And so I told her it was going to be a princess surprise, so she's been looking forward to it."

While they were getting made up, the girls were already thinking about what else it would take to look like their favorite Disney characters.

"I think we're gonna change into dresses," of the girls said to her stylist, "cause to dress like any princesses."

When the girls got out of the makeup chairs, they were directed to a set of chairs along the back wall, over which were draped blue dresses like the one Cinderella wore to the ball. Each dress had on it the name of one of the girls, along with a tiara and a pair of glass slippers (though with a modern twist: lights in the heels that shone blue with each step).

They all posed for photos and thought their special day was done, until performers dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse entered the room. After a moment of shock, the girls ran up to the characters for hugs, smiling as wide as their faces would allow.

"The music, the pizzazz, everything about it is exactly what these little girls love," Craig said. "And so, for them to have this opportunity to really just be five, six, seven-year-old little girls and have that moment to just be enthralled by Disney. And, like, all of us have had our time with Disney. Some of us still have our time with Disney! That they're able to really have that moment, outside of having a cancer diagnosis, and having gone through that battle."

It was a special moment for their parents, too.

"It's awesome,' Litchfield said. "I mean, every day I realize, like, wow! She's come so far and gotten so old and she's doing so well now, and healthy and happy, and overly energetic."

At the end, each family had tickets to attend the show. But they also had proof that the royal treatment is far more powerful than any cancer treatment.

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