It was just another Thursday morning for 12-year-old Allayah Phan until she heard a knock on her door.
“I opened it,” she said. “I didn’t know who they were, except for like one person, and I was kind of scared at first because there was cops also.”
While there were cops outside of Allayah’s house this morning, they weren’t there on a routine call. They joined the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Subaru to grant Allayah’s wish – a trip to Paris. There was just one problem though: Allayah can’t travel right now because of her rare blood disorder.
“Today, it’s all about Allayah,” said Jennifer Stolo, CEO of Make-A-Wish said. “She became sick again, so we thought, you know, let’s bring Paris to her while she’s waiting.”
That’s exactly what they did. After surprising her at her house, they brought Allayah – complete in caravan-style – to the Wishing Place, Make-A-Wish’s Sacramento location, which was transformed to look like a Paris café. They went all out – inviting local fashion models, jugglers and even a watercolor artist.
It was a welcome relief from the daily challenges Allayah faces. She was diagnosed in February 2014 with severe aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder that effects only one in one million people. The disorder causes Allayah’s immune system to attack her bone marrow. Allayah received a bone marrow transplant in late 2015, but her body has rejected it, keeping Allayah from being able to travel.
“I’m scared, I’m worried because you [have to] live in a bubble, you kind of can’t let her live a normal baby’s life,” Allayah’s mom, Andrea Tran said. “I had hope and I had faith and she just made it easier – she was really strong about it.”
Allayah told ABC10 that having the disorder doesn’t hold her back.
“I just stay positive and I don’t want to be sad through everything,” Allayah said.
And there’s a reason Allayah wants to go to Paris – she loves fashion design.
“My mom said that when I was in the hospital for my transplant, I received a sketchbook and I just started drawing a lot,” she said.
That’s one thing she’ll get to do a lot more of in Paris. At the Paris café that Make-A-Wish set up for Allayah, they revealed details of her trip, which will include a day with a Parisian fashion designer.
“It is an amazing feeling just to have her so happy,” her mom said. “When you see her smile, and you see that the little things brighten her day, you know, you appreciate life a little bit more too yourself.”