CHESTERTON | When little MaKayla Delaosa couldn't go see her beloved princesses, the princesses came to her.
As Cinderella, Snow White, Belle and Merida walked into a banquet room Wednesday at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, MaKayla's brown eyes grew wider and wider.
In her own blue Cinderella dress, glass slippers and tiara, the 4-year-old Chicago girl tightly hugged each princess and posed for pictures before they sat down at a table covered in pink tablecloths and bows and decorated with candelabras for lunch.
MaKayla was diagnosed with leukemia Feb. 14, said her mother, Nichole Delaosa. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the family had hoped to make MaKayla's dream of meeting the princesses come true.
However, Delaosa said, her daughter won't finish chemotherapy until April 2015 and a trip to Florida's Disney World is out of the question until October 2015. So far, MaKayla has undergone 50 chemotherapy treatments.
That's when Kate-Lynn Edwards, of Hammond, heard MaKayla's story through Facebook. Edwards, who owns Schererville-based companies, including one that provides princesses for parties, decided MaKayla shouldn't have to wait.
"When I heard more of the story, I said we were going to do this and they wouldn't have to pay a thing," said Edwards, who raised funds on Facebook and sought donations for the party.
MaKayla's story also touched Edwards personally. Her boyfriend is battling leukemia.
"Every time we get a chance to help someone we do," she said. "It is such an emotional experience. It is uplifting to see her with such a big smile on her face."
Delaosa, who didn't meet Edwards until Wednesday, said she was touched by the gesture.
"It is nice to see there are still caring people in the world, that a stranger would do something like this is overwhelming," she said.
Delaosa is also working to bring an awareness to childhood cancer to help others. September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, she said. She said she's working to make the cause as active as October's breast cancer awareness activities.
Rachel Livingston, of Chesterton, who portrayed Merida from Disney's "Brave," said she jumped at participating.
"It is really a beautiful thing," she said. "Today is actually my birthday so it is like sharing. We want to bring her all the joy we can to make today wonderful."
Laura Miller, of Munster, portrayed Snow White and Megan Curtis, of Hammond, portrayed Belle.
And while MaKayla didn't want Cinderella to leave her side, it was the four princesses who considered MaKayla their hero, Edwards said.
"If nothing else, she gets her dream. She's the real princess and she's a hero," said Edwards, adding it is MaKayla's bravery in her battle and uplifting attitude that they want to emulate.