TAMPA – Mattie Spinner doesn’t know it yet, but one of her biggest dreams is about to come true.
Just like any Super Bowl MVP, she is going to Walt Disney World.
Just don’t tell her. It’s a surprise.
Mattie has shown a lot more courage in her almost four years than any professional sports athlete. She won’t get a parade down Main Street, but she deserves one.
Mattie was born nine week premature, growing with little or no amniotic fluid after her mother’s water broke early. She was given just a 12 percent chance of survival. Then, three weeks later, she was diagnosed with a brain injury known as PVL, which is caused by a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the periventricular area of the brain and results in the loss of brain tissue. At eight months, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
She may never walk, but she is hoping others will decide to walk or run for her. On April 12, Mattie will host the Run For Hope 5K race and one-mile fun walk. It will be held at Lake Park, 17302 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Lutz, starting at 8 a.m. All proceeds will benefit Mattie, whose most effective therapies are not covered by insurance. Everything raised will go toward her therapy and medical expenses.
And while Mattie will not be participating, she’s traveled far enough on her own. By the end of 2013, she had traveled out of state four times for therapy sessions, and has had 196 therapy sessions overall.
Her father, James, said that, despite everything, Mattie’s smile never goes away and all she wants to do is see Walt Disney World.
“Mattie is doing well,’’ James said. “She’s making strides and there’s some hope. She is always happy and doesn’t really know what is going on right now, but things are getting better. We have hope.’’
Currently, Mattie is developing some range of motion, giving both her doctors and her family hope. That’s why James and Jessica keep at it.
As for Mattie, James said he thinks she knows something when it comes to Disney World. Like millions of other girls, she loves Elsa from “Frozen,’’ Disney’s latest smash movie with princesses whose dreams come true.
One of her dreams is to run one day, just like Elsa in the movie.
Mattie’s favorite song right now is “Let It Go,’’ from Frozen. It’s about a girl who runs freely and let’s everything loose, running freely through her frozen kingdom.
For more on the Run For Hope, check firstname.lastname@example.org.