On April 20, Keyla Martinez was treated to a VIP shopping trip at the Westfield Brandon mall by the Children’s Dream Fund. Keyla was diagnosed with lymphoma and has finished treatments, just in time for her to partake in her shopping dream.
Martinez and her family arrived at the mall in style with a limousine ride from her house and signs and gift bags welcoming Martinez before she began shopping. She was treated to special dressing rooms and escorted to her favorite stores, where staff went all out to invite her on her VIP shopping spree.
“Keyla likes YouTube, and she sees shopping sprees. She always wanted to go on one,” said mother Maria Martinez. “She also loves fashion and accessories. She’s definitely a girly girl.”
Martinez shopped with her mother, aunt, older brother and younger sister and received a special lunch before doing more shopping.
The 10-year-old has been battling lymphoma at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and her social worker, Leah Wimberly, referred her to the Children’s Dream Fund.
“She is a really great example of embracing changes life brings and moving forward. I was reminded how resilient we all are—not just children but parents too,” said Children’s Dream Fund marketing specialist Lisa Halter. “And Keyla’s excitement while anticipating her Dream has brought joy to us as we plan, and yet another reminder of the positive impact a dream come true has on a child’s life.”
Halter explained that Martinez’s formerly long, curly hair has grown back straight following treatments. Prior to her diagnosis, Martinez never wanted to get a haircut so she could look like Rapunzel, but she has embraced the change and was looking forward to shopping for new accessories, especially for her hair.
The Children’s Dream Fund is a nonprofit organization that has given over 3,000 pediatric patients their dreams for over 40 years. It serves 3 to 21-year-olds in West Central Florida suffering from life-threatening illnesses and works to give them their unique dreams.
“Every child deserves hope and a dream,” as said by the website, “and our goal is to continue to make those dreams come true.”