Martic Elementary School students and staff gave Emily Graver a royal send-off Friday before the 11-year-old and her family headed to Disney World this week.
Emily suffers from a rare neurological disease, Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, that attacks the brain, causing debilitating seizures. To control the seizures, half of Emily’s brain was removed through an operation called a hemispherectomy. Since she had the 12-hour procedure in December 2012, Emily has undergone a demanding regimen of therapy to help her regain her ability to speak and walk.
To give Emily and her family a break, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted her request for a trip to Disney World. But before she left on Saturday, Emily stopped by to see her old friends at Martic, the school she attended before her illness.
To make Emily’s Disney World trip extra special, Tammy Martelle, a paraprofessional at Pequea Elementary School, made her a custom-fitted pink Ariel princess dress. During Friday’s assembly at Martic, aide Patti Duff read “Our Special Princess,” a story she wrote about Emily, and students and staff presented the youngster with a tiara, wand, silver slippers and jewelry, along with a treasure chest full of well wishes.
Emily plans to wear the dress when she has lunch in Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World, her mother, Kerry Graver, said.
After the presentations, Emily visited classrooms, rekindling old friendships and posing for pictures with her former classmates and teachers.