Before she got sick, Mahlia’s mother had planned to enroll her in dance classes. When she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, those plans were put on hold. But Mahlia’s love of dance remained.
Mahlia had always loved playing with her brothers and being active. She especially loved dancing. When she stopped being the bright and bubbly child that her family knew, her mother became worried. When nose bleeds and high fevers became common place, Mahlia’s mom took her to the hospital. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed. A journey of treatments and hospital stays awaited her. It wouldn’t be an easy journey.
Dancing gives Mahlia an opportunity to forget about her illness for a while and let her be a kid again. Although she’s never had professional training, she dances around her house, pretending that she’s a ballerina. Mahlia pretends to be a ballerina without ever having laid eyes on one. She practices pique turns without knowing what they are, but knowing that they feel right. All that matters is that she loves dancing, and that she sees herself as a ballerina.
Despite her lack of training, Make-A-Wish knew that Mahlia’s wish – to be a ballerina – had to come true. Working with the Tulsa Ballet, her dream was brought to life. She slipped into a leotard, had her hair styled and make-up applied and then began a day of lessons with lead instructors from the Tulsa Ballet. They practiced doing basic ballet steps, setting a foundation for the lessons that Mahlia plans to take after her treatments are over.
Later, Mahlia watched the Tulsa Ballet perform “Sleeping Beauty” before receiving a dress designed to look just like the one the ballerina playing the part of Aurora wore during the show. She also received a pair of pointe shoes and cupcakes decorated like tutus. Mahlia capped it off by posing for a picture with the entire cast of “Sleeping Beauty.” It was a night that Mahlia will never forget, paired with the promise of a dance-filled future to come.