NBC Connecticut and Telemundo Connecticut are once again partnering with Make-A-Wish Connecticut for the annual "Miles for Smiles" campaign.
According to Make-A-Wish Connecticut, the pandemic has forced the organization to postpone about 150 wishes. Nearly 70% of all wishes are travel-related. Make-A-Wish Connecticut says they are preparing now to ensure all of the wishes can be granted as soon as it is safe to travel.
Daniela Hernandez, 7, is just one of many waiting on her wish to be granted.
Hernandez was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 5 years old. After a difficult journey for her family, a doctor at Yale New Haven Hospital was able to remove almost all of her tumor in October 2018, according to Daniela's mom, Nady.
"It was hard to be strong in that moment," said Nady. "As parents you just want them not to feel anything and not to be sick."
In the last two years, Daniela has endured five surgeries, rehab, routine follow-up scans, and therapy for her speech and movement, both of which were affected by the tumor.
Her parents, Nady and Quevin, said that she faces her battles with an unbreakable spirit and a big smile.
"She kind of shines through in everything that she does," said Nady.
"I am a very happy girl and brave and strong," Daniela said.
Daniela was introduced to Make-A-Wish during her time in the hospital. She was named a "wish kid". For the princess-loving, fun-seeking Daniela, it was an easy choice -- Walt Disney World.
"I feel excited," said Daniela.
Daniela's trip was scheduled for March of 2020, but was rescheduled due to the pandemic. The family is excited to go as soon as it is safe. Daniela will go with her parents and her younger sister Izabella.
"It is hope in difficult times," said Nady.
Make-A-Wish pays for the entire trip. The organization said that because of the pandemic, their revenue is projected to be down by 50%.
"If you have ever thought about wanting to support us – with either monetary donations or airline miles - the time is now," Pam Keough, president & CEO of Make-A-Wish Connecticut, wrote in a press release. "In these times, hope is essential for children with critical illnesses. By granting a wish, these kids receive so much more than a temporary escape."
This week, people are asked to donate unused airline miles or make monetary donations to Make-A-Wish Connecticut. For airline miles donations, visit milesforsmiles.wish.org; for monetary donations, please visit ct.wish.org/donate. Or, viewers can call (855) 622-2830 to make all donations by phone.
According to Make-A-Wish, if miles are transferred to the organization, they will not expire. They say the miles help offset the cost of the trips.
The campaign runs through Friday.