When it comes to rewards for bravery it “Disney” get any better than the adventure which awaits a courageous Grangemouth youngster this month.
Ellie-Mae Priestley (11) was born with the life-limiting genetic disorder cystic fibrosis (CF), which affects the lungs, makes breathing difficult and can lead to frequent infections. She has also developed a CF-related liver disease, which is thankfully under control through daily medication.
Ellie-Mae has been fitted with a wide variety of medical devices in order to facilitate the regular treatment she receives – mum Linda joked with her daughter she sets off the alarm whenever they shop in Asda – and is a “real VIP” at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.
Linda (45) said: “One of the consultants at the hospital nominated her for the flight to Orlanda the charity Dreamflight organises each year. She will be going there for 10 days as a member of the Donald Duck group.
“She will be flying out there herself – Dreamflight does not fly the parents out because they want the youngsters to have their independence. She has already met her roommate for the trip, a 14-year-old girl from Dundee called Steph.”
Apart from welcome advice from big brother Daniel (21) – a frequent flier to Germany – Ellie-Mae knows nothing about air travel.
The flight down to Heathrow later this month will be the first time the primary seven pupil, who had to undergo tests to make sure she was fit enough to fly, has been on a plane and, following a star-studded celebrity bash at the Hilton, her second ever flight will be a nine-hour party in the sky aboard Dreamflight’s own 747 with British Airways staff dressing in costumes to make the long journey as happy and comfortable as possible.
There will also be 14 doctors, 50 nurses and 12 physiotherapists heading over to the USA to provide round the clock care for Ellie-Mae and the other Dreamflight guests should they require it as they visit unforgettable destinations like the Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Sea World and much more.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Universal Studios and going to the shopping mall,” said Ellie Mae.
Linda will only be able to stay in touch via text message, but she knows her daughter is in good hands.
She laughed: “I think she may come back with make up on and fake eyelashes.”