Lyla Swedoski and her family will get to visit Ireland in September
Lyla Swedoski, an 8-year-old cancer patient in Texas, is having her dream of visiting Ireland and meeting a leprechaun come true thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation and the Harp and Shamrock Society of San Antonio, Texas.
Lyla has already met the Leprechaun who greeted her on a visit to The Alamo.
Two years ago, Lyla was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. The brave young girl underwent chemotherapy treatments at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Texas.
This year on St. Patrick’s Day, Lyla’s mother shared on Facebook that it was her daughter’s wish to go to Ireland:
Lyla's wish is to go to Ireland, so what a perfect day to celebrate the Make a Wish organization. Publiée par Melissa Swedoski sur Dimanche 17 mars 2019
The Central Texas chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation has since made Lyla’s wish come true - but not without the help of the Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas based in San Antonio.
“Nobody thinks of leprechauns and the Alamo at the same time,” acknowledged Carolyn Dowd, a board member of the Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas. She noted, however, “The Irish and Irish descendants represented the largest percentage of the entire garrison.”
On Tuesday, Lyla, her sister Emily, and their parents were treated to an “Ireland-themed” scavenger hunt at The Alamo that featured Irish dancers, bagpipers, and yes, even a leprechaun all leading Lyla to her big surprise.
The San Antonio Express reports: "Halfway through the tour came the first big surprise. Lyla’s eyes widened as she spotted five fairies with wings, bright green tutus and sparkling headbands coming toward her. The young girls, from the Inishfree School of Irish Dancing in San Antonio, reached out to her and they all joined hands, dancing in a circle."
Spectrum News’s Lauren Due was on hand for the exciting reveal:
8 yr old Lyla ((pink dress)) is battling a rare brain cancer...today she’s ‘Making a Wish!’ But first there’s a scavenger hunt through the Alamo...at the end there’s a pot of gold and a MAGICAL surprise! ☘️@MakeAWishCSTX pic.twitter.com/YMpw7PAQFE— Lauren Due (@LDueWeather) July 23, 2019
On Facebook, the Harp and Shamrock Society shared photos from the heartwarming event:
Enjoying lunch after Make a Wish With Lyla and her family. The Harp helped with a scavenger hunt to reveal that Lyla will be going to IrelandPubliée par The Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas sur Mardi 23 juillet 2019
More photos, courtesy of Melinda Britten, from Make a Wish at the Alamo. Thank you to all who helped make Lyla's wish come true.Publiée par The Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas sur Mardi 23 juillet 2019
On young Lyla’s agenda for her upcoming trip? “To get a pot of gold. To see a four-leaf clover, see a leprechaun, and have fun.”
Lyla’s parents said told Spectrum News that their upcoming trip to Ireland will be a good chance to relax and have some fun.
“You realize through the treatment process that not everybody makes it this far,” said Lyla’s mother Melissa. “It’s very life-affirming; we can start to think about something besides pills and medicine and hospital stays and doctor’s appointments.”
Lyla’s father Thomas added: "Just to make this day memorable for my little girl it touches your heart."