Three-year-old with rare condition has wish granted for perfect princess party

Princess Elsa made a rare appearance in Wirral last week, when wish-granting charity Rays of Sunshine invited her to a party for a very special three-year-old.

The party was for Birkenhead local, Arla, and her family and friends were in attendance alongside her favourite princess.

Arla was born with Infantile Pompe Disease, a rare genetic condition that causes muscle wastage. The three-year-old has weekly treatments to manage her condition, but there is no cure and her life expectancy is considerably shorter than those without the disease.

“She is such a happy three-year-old most of the time, but we do have to take extra measures because her legs and other muscles can tire easily,” said Emmie Wood, Arla’s mum. These measures include thickened fluids, as her throat muscles are also slowly deteriorating.

Emmie says Arla most often feels the effects of her condition in between treatments. “We can tell when she’s starting to flag, but once she’s had her infusion it’s like she’s been on charge for 24 hours and she’s ready and raring to go!” she said.

Princesses are one of Arla’s favourite things in the world, alongside dancing. When the Wood family were put in touch with Rays of Sunshine, the charity’s Wish Granters set to work organising the perfect princess party for the little girl.

A special invitation was sent out to Princess Elsa, and several local businesses came together to ensure the event was fit for the VIP that Arla is. When the big day came, Arla, Emmie and the rest of their family were picked up in a limo and driven to the historic Leasowe Castle for the party.

“I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on her face when she walked into that room,” said Emmie. “Everything was perfect, from the cupcakes to the soft play area and the glitter wall. I just feel like she walked into that room, and it was like she didn’t have her illness.”

Princess Elsa was on hand to play games, sing and dance with the children, and Arla loved having the attention of her favourite character.  

“I have so many favourite moments, but I think the fact that our whole family and friends could be there was really special,” said Emmie. “Life can be difficult and it’s hard to do these things with everyone around – but this was a wonderful way to make those memories.”

Emmie added, “I hope every family who is eligible for a wish takes advantage of the opportunity, because our whole experience was absolutely magical.”

Georgia Hyland, Interim Head of Services at Rays of Sunshine said, “We’re so glad that Arla’s wish had so many special moments, and that her family could experience her wish together. 

“Thank you to everyone at Leasowe Castle, and of course Princess Elsa, for their support to make this wish happen, creating precious memories for Arla and her family.”

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