NAPLES, Fla. — One 6-year-old girl's wish was granted Wednesday at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples.
Ivory Goad and her family spent the day howling with the wolves, which her mother says has been a lifelong dream of hers.
"Anytime we could put a smile on a child's face, and give them memories, that will last forever, we take it," said Richard Kelly, Chief Operating Officer of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida.
For years, Goad has battled Neurofibomatosis Type 1 (NF1) a disorder that causes tumors to grow on the nerves.
“At first it was a little rough just because she was doing chemo, she did chemo for like a year, and it just made everything worse," said Cheyenne Minshew, Ivory's Mom. "It started weakening her. Her legs, her arm, she was in braces, like, we took her off all of it and she's been stronger than before.”
On Wednesday, Ivory was able to experience something the family said they thought they would never be able to.
"She's been wanting to see wolves and actually be able to touch them, so it was just like an awesome experience all together,” said Minshew.
The experience was special for others outside of Ivory's family as well.
Max Costanzo, Director of Development and Fundraising for Shy Wolf Sanctuary, had his wish granted 15 years ago and was able to share in on Ivory's special day in what he called a 'full circle moment'.
"I had my wish granted when I was 12 and being able to kind of spread that joy, because I remember it from all the way back then to Ivory today and see it unfold from the other side is just next level,” said Costanzo.
Kelly tells Fox 4 that Ivory's wish was the first granted at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary, and one of the, on average, 100 wishes the program will grant in Southwest Florida this year.
“We knew that from Max's Make-A-Wish experience being so special, that he would go that extra step, that he would make sure that he in the facility would make sure that I always wish was special," said Kelly.
Kelly assured Fox 4 that the program will stay in touch with Ivory in her family as they have will Max all these years.