ANN BAILEY: A promise kept by two special buddiesNever underestimate the power of a child’s wish. Events during the past couple of years have made me realize that wishes not only can come true, but also exceed our expectations.
Never underestimate the power of a child’s wish. Events during the past couple of years have made me realize that wishes not only can come true, but also exceed our expectations.
During the past year and a half I’ve written several times about my daughter. Ellen’s wish to travel to Vancouver to see the movie “Santa Buddies” being filmed and the subsequent gift of canine star Rosebud. Rosebud, a golden retriever, is a beautiful, sweet dog and was great medicine for Ellen as she went through her chemo treatment for leukemia. The love between Ellen and Rosebud is obvious and as I watch Ellen running down the road with Rosebud at her side, I say prayers of thanks for the wonderful wish she received.
There were also, of course, human components to Ellen’s wish and I feel equally blessed for them. One of the people I am most grateful for becoming part of Ellen’s life is Anna McRoberts, the co-writer-producer of the “Air Buddies” movies. Anna spent much of the day with Ellen and our family when we were on the set of “Santa Buddies.” She showed us how movies were edited, arranged to have our picture taken in front of the green screen and introduced us to the canine and human movie stars who were in “Santa Buddies.”
Most importantly, Anna spent time visiting with Ellen and getting to know her. Anna wrote down Ellen’s and her brother’s ideas for Buddies movies, made sure Ellen got all the treats she wanted to eat and that Rosebud was always on her lap when we were watching the filming of Santa Buddies. We knew we had all made a friend when we left the set of “Santa Buddies” and promised that we would keep in touch with her.
Staying in touch
The promise was kept. Ellen and Anna have e-mailed one another many times since we returned home in December 2008 from Ellen’s wish trip. Anna also has sent Ellen and her brother several gifts of “Air Buddies”-related items each time a new Buddies DVD has been released.
The biggest gift of all, though, was Anna’s recent visit to our farm. Anna attended the celebration we hosted last weekend to mark the end of Ellen’s chemo treatment and the good news that she is remission. Brian e-mailed Anna to let her know about the celebration and she finagled her schedule so she could get to our farm near Larimore, N.D.
That was no small feat since Anna was just days away from production of a new “Air Buddies” adventure. Until hours before the party, we didn’t know for sure whether Anna would be able to make it. Then just before her plane landed in Winnipeg, Anna e-mailed that she would rent a car at the airport and drive to our house and should arrive about 6 p.m.
We hadn’t told Ellen about Anna’s visit because we didn’t want her to be disappointed if her plans fell through. When Anna arrived at the party and Ellen saw her, Ellen nearly burst into tears, she was so happy, and went running into Anna’s arms to give her a hug.
The two of them were inseparable for the duration of the evening. Anna played tag with Ellen and her friends who attended the party, went on two hayrides with her and laid with her on the lawn to look up at the stars and moon in the prairie night sky. Anna was not only a hit with Ellen, but also with Ellen’s friends who had a blast playing with her, not because she was a movie writer-producer, but because she was Anna.
It warmed my heart to see that Anna enjoyed the evening as much as Ellen. She loved watching kids running around on the farm with plenty of space to play, seeing the crops in the fields from the seat of a hay wagon and roasting marshmallows over a bonfire.
Before Anna left for Grand Forks at the end of the night (she had to catch a plane from Winnipeg back to Vancouver early the next morning), she gave Ellen a friendship bracelet that says, “Ellen and Anna, Buddies.” Ellen plans to make Anna a similar bracelet, and I’m sure it also will have a reference to the special bond they share.
Relationships between “wish children” and the celebrities isn’t unheard of, said Sharon Mazaheri, president and CEO of the North Dakota chapter of Make-A-Wish.
“Sometimes a wish party and a celebrity just click,” she says.
I’m glad that Ellen’s friendship with Anna is one of the ones that did just that. I couldn’t have wished for anything better.