The Hogan family is hoping an upcoming five-day trip helps erase some of the pain of 176 days last year.
For months, the Manchester family spent every day at the Hershey Medical Center after Kara Hogan, then 6, was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of leukemia.
So rare that she's one of fewer than 100 children in the world with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), according to her mother, Dorothy.
After all that, it would seem tough for any 7-year-old to smile.
That's where Make-A-Wish comes in.
The Hogans, including Kara's dad, David, and her brother, Kyle, were at the Waffles & Wishes breakfast fundraiser for Make-A-Wish efforts in York County, held at the Out Door Country Club in Manchester Township on Friday.
That's when Kara got to find out her wish was coming true.
She's going to swim with dolphins.
The family will leave in early May for a five-day trip to Key Largo, Fla., to fulfill Kara's
Other gifts: Make-A-Wish also arranged for some other gifts to Kara and her family, such as a gift card to her favorite restaurant at Royal Manchester Golf Links. Staff members of the restaurant gave her a shirt to make her an honorary staff member.
Meadows Original Frozen Custard of York also honored Kara by making her favorite flavor, cotton candy, the official flavor of the day Friday and donated proceeds to Make-A-Wish.
Macy's, Toys 'R' Us, Glatfelter Insurance and Macklin's Cupcakes were among the other donors helping to make Kara smile.
Make-A-Wish chooses to assist children who have a life-threatening disease, said Ann Waltman, regional manager for the Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia chapter of the foundation. The regional chapter has helped dozens of children this year.
The local chapter has helped children with dreams ranging from Disney World trips to getting a computer to meeting Justin Bieber, all through private donors and volunteers.
Kara either wanted to swim with dolphins or ride a horse for her Make-A-Wish, Dorothy Hogan said.
She and David promised their daughter that if she was brave and went to chemo every day for a period they'd get her a horse. Kara did just that and got her horse, leaving Make-A-Wish to grant the other half of her wish.
'Overwhelming': Dorothy, who owns Consignment Diva in Manchester Township, had to put her business on hold last March after finding out her daughter's diagnosis. Now she said she tries not to think about Kara's illness, although the Make-A-Wish presentation stirred up her emotions.
"It's overwhelming," she said afterward of the generosity. "It's hard to separate the emotion from the gift."
But Dorothy said there's an 80 percent chance of people with APL beating the disease.
For the Orendorff Elementary first-grader, it's just one more reason to smile.
For information on donating to Make-A-Wish, call Waltman at 757-WISH or visit www.wishgreaterpa.org.
-- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or email@example.com, or on Twitter @ydblogwork