The mother and grandmother of 4-year-old McKenna May, who survived leukemia, are collecting money to get the little Ohio girl to Disney World after her father nixed a Make-A-Wish trip to the theme park.
McKenna's father, William May of Toledo, said using Make-A-Wish money for a child who is "free and clear" of illness is an improper use of donations made to the organization. "I think it should go to kids who only have six months to live," he told the Sentinel-Tribune of Bowling Green, Ohio.
The charity requires that parents have to sign off for a child to accept a trip.
After going through two years of cancer treatment that included spinal taps, chemotherapy and hospitalizations because of reactions to the treatments, McKenna's mother, Whitney Hughes, and grandmother, Lori Helppie, feel she deserves the trip.
So they've pulled their family's request with Make-A-Wish and are placing collection jars around the community to raise the needed $3,500 to fund the trip on their own.
The important thing is to get her there," Helppie told the newspaper. "She loves Mickey Mouse. She loves Cinderella." "She's really excited," Hughes said. "It's all she's talked about for the last three months."
Helppie and Hughes are outraged at May's refusal and claim McKenna's father is just trying to get back at them over visitation privileges. May was just granted visitation earlier this year, according to the Sentinel-Tribune.
The father, however, blames McKenna's mother and grandmother for keeping him from seeing his daughter. "I wasn't allowed to be involved," May said. "It ticked me off."
Susan McConnell, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish for Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, said that McKenna clearly qualifies for a wish since she has gone through so much in her two-year struggle to beat leukemia, the newspaper reported.
McConnell said it is unfortunate that the family yanked their request for a wish since the father wouldn't sign off. "She's been through a lot," she said of McKenna. "What I really feel bad about is she is stuck in the middle."
Anyone wanting to donate to McKenna's trip may send donations to 5/3 Bank, 275 South Main St., Bowling Green, Ohio 43402 (419) 354-9531 to the benefit account for McKenna May.