GRIFFITH | Since being diagnosed with cancer 11 months ago, Jasmine DeJesus, of Griffith, has had her tough days.
But the 6-year-old was all smiles Tuesday, eating her favorite meal from Aurelio's Pizza in Griffith and surrounded by her family.
The restaurant hosted a pizza party as a send-off celebration for her trip. Jasmine, her sister, Sophia, her parents and grandparents will head to Walt Disney World for a week as part of her wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Though she has never been to the amusement park in Florida, she already knows she wants a turn on the Dumbo ride. Her mother, Raquel, showed her pictures and videos of the attractions, and riding on a flying elephant tops her list.
She's excited to meet the princesses at the park, especially Princess Jasmine, who shares her name.
"I like her dress," she said, smiling.
Jasmine was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last May. Recently, her treatment has gone down to maintenance at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. She goes into Chicago once a month instead of weekly treatments she received early on. She's also required to take medications at home.
"You don't want to see any kid have to go through this," said Joel DeJesus, Jasmine's father. "I'm amazed at the strength she has at 6 years old, and she can still be a child."
Their trip will also include tickets to SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios. They will stay at the Give Kids The World Resort, a nonprofit resort for children and their families.
Make-A-Wish volunteer Denise Little said they try to give every child a chance to choose their gift. Some children know exactly what they want, while others take some time to help them decide.
It was clear Jasmine wanted Aurelio's pepperoni pizza, Little said, because she always enjoys it.
"She looks so happy," said Raquel, as Jasmine talked with the guests at her party.
Paula Pascale, owner of the Griffith Aurelio's, told the family if they need anything from their restaurant, all they have to do is call.
"Everyone thinks that the families going through this want some big thing like Disney World," said Pascale, who also volunteers through Angels on Assignment, a local organization. "But sometimes it's just the little things that make a big difference."