Eight-year-old Viridiana Martinez thought her shining moment came riding next to Santa Claus on fire truck in the Downtown Summerlin Christmas Parade. Even as she stood next to Old Saint Nick at the end of their ride, she had no idea what he was about to say. But her mother knew all along. That's because Sofia Martinez, along with Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada, was in on this surprise.
"I do believe in miracles. So this is the perfect time!" her mother said.
After suffering from excruciatingly painful juvenile arthritis and enduring several hospital stays and medical treatments, Viridiana is in remission. She is now able to fully enjoy the wonder and excitement of the holidays, but she wasn't ready for what happened after she and Santa arrived at his chalet. She was speechless when Santa announced that she and her family will get a trip to Disneyland to meet and become her favorite Disney princess. The trip is being made possible by Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada and The Howard Hughes Corporation.
"She's very excited and it brings joy and happiness to her," said her mother. "You know, being able to have some relief and forget about everything."
Caroline Ciocca, Make-A-Wish President and CEO, said the organization grants more than 117 wishes a year and this year will grant 135.
"The wish, really is a time for the family to bond and reunite and spend some quality time together. So, it's a pleasure to give that kind of gift to a child's life as well as her family." Ciocca said.