Seven-year-old girl with brain tumor gets Christmas surprise at Ore City pageant
Dec. 11, 2012 at 11 p.m.
ORE CITY - A first grade Christmas pageant ended in surprise for an Ore City student Tuesday after a representative of the Make-A-Wish Foundation confirmed her "life-long dream" had come true.
Zoe Dixon, 7, has fought a brain tumor much of her life - including 15 months in chemotherapy - but this weekend, the pain may be forgotten as she, along with her mother, brother, and aunt fly to Walt Disney World.
"It is fantastic," said Dixon's mother, Kasi Carpenter, who said she was stunned with Ore City's generous support. "We would never have been able to do this on our own, especially after trips back and forth to Dallas every weekend for treatment."
After the treatment lasting more than a year, doctors told Carpenter that Zoe's brain tumor had shrunk, but not gone away - and likely never would.
Although Zoe and her mother knew they would be leaving Friday for Disney World, neither suspected the school district, including teachers, high school and junior high school students, music director and the superintendent would come together to give her the news officially.
"It's very moving. Zoe has just captured all our hearts," said Ore City Elementary Assistant Principal Stephanie Warner.
Warner said teachers and administrators are astonished by Zoe's attitude despite her difficulties.
"Her attitude through all of it was always very positive. Even if she was not feeling well, she was always happy to be here. We have done a lot as a community for Zoe and others," Warner said.
The "Wish Reveal" took place following a first grade production.
After the performance, Ore City ISD Superintendent Lynn Heflin entered the converted cafeteria as Santa Claus and embraced Zoe. Then the girl's wish-granter, Connie Harper, had Zoe tell the audience about her wish.
Zoe said it was her "life-long dream" to go to Disney World, and she could not wait to hug Cinderella - her favorite Disney princess.
She also said she was excited about the ice cream parlor for "breakfast, lunch and dinner."
"I am really excited that I get to go; I have always really wanted to and never have before," Zoe said.
"They are very nice," she added about those enabling her family to take the trip,
Harper, of Longview, has been able to grant other children's wishes, but said Zoe was special to her.
"Zoe's just a real special girl. Really happy and talkative," she said.
But Harper said one of the most important aspects was the district's response to Zoe.
This year, Ore City ISD students wrote more than 11,000 letters to Santa for Macy's Believe campaign. Macy's donates one dollar per letter to the Make-a-Wish foundation, making the Ore City students responsible for up to three wishes coming true.
Harper said other East Texas school districts, including Hallsville, White Oak and Spring Hill, had written letters to Santa for Macy's Believe campaign, as well.