HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Khushi Patel, 9, became a princess for the day on Tuesday.
Khushi was diagnosed with neuroblastoma several years ago.
To give her the royal treatment, Make-A-Wish Alabama brought together staff and volunteers, from makeup artists to photographers, cake bakers, and even a horse-drawn carriage driver.
Tuesday, a party bus picked Khushi up at school, and it whisked her on a tour of area schools and businesses. Khushi got to pick out her own dress and princess accessories, participate in a family Princess photo-shoot at a local hotel, and preside over the Huntsville Christmas Parade V.I.P. area. All that came before the grand finale: Her procession around the city for the parade, in the carriage.
For Khushi, it was a good day. She said she learned that being a princess is fun.
"I played in glitter. I did makeup. I had my hair done," she commented. "I have a dress, a scepter, some beautiful gloves, and a crown."
It was also an emotional day for Khushi's family: Chirag, Vaishali, and Tejasvee Patel. They have been through her journey alongside her.
"It's like a miracle," laughed Vaishali Patel, her mother. "It's like a dream."
Khushi's young life hasn't been easy.
"We were in St. Jude for 18 months," Patel said. "Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, a bone marrow transplant. Out of all that, God blessed and she is right here. Everything is fine. She has scans every six months in Memphis."
For the family, this day was a chance to see Khushi happy and smiling.
"She is happy, and we love to go with her and whatever makes her happy. That is the blessing of God, and just to enjoy the moment," said Patel.
"I could tell, after she got the makeup on and hair done and once she got into the dress, that once she started getting her photo taken she just got really excited,: noted Nancy Finnegan, Professional Makeup Artist. "You got to see her becoming a princess. The photographers, Sweet Roots Photography, brought the glitter. That was fun for her."
She added of Khushi, "She is not seeing herself as a sick child. She is seeing herself as a princess today. And that's what really, Make-A-Wish is all about. To take whatever pain or struggles the family is going through and for them to completely forget it. I think we hit it."
Make-A-Wish Alabama, the Huntsville Chi Omega Alumni, the Von Braun Center, Comfort Care Hospice, and Mix 96.9 joined forces to grant Khushi's wish. People were invited to not just come to the parade and see her ride by, but to wave finger lights along the route and hold signs to encourage her in her fight against cancer.
Khushi hopped in her carriage with her family members and waved at all her supporters, to big cheers.
Vaishali Patel said she hoped that people who watched her daughter ride by will remember this: "Enjoy every, each moment. Because you don't know what comes tomorrow."