There were plenty of cheers on Saturday for a little pirate named Leona Evans, who was granted her own pirate ship docked in her own backyard thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation.
It’s everything this brave 5-year-old imagined when she decided to combine her two favorite things: playing outside and playing pirates.
Like the pirate she most admires, Jack Sparrow, Leona has been putting up a fight of her own: Last summer, she was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma and leukemia.
She’s since had a tumor removed from her eye and has been undergoing chemotherapy, which has taken a toll on her immune system, making it too risky to be at public playgrounds.
“She’s so brave,” her mom offered. “She takes it in stride. I mean, we have our good days and bad days like anyone else.”
But this day was definitely a great day for Leona, being able to play with family and friends and it gives mom some peace of mind too.
“She’s dying to play with kids during the day and she can’t and just waits for her sister to come home and, you know, it’s rough.”
Now thanks to Make a Wish partners Charmed Playhouse and Designer Daddy, who gave Leona her own pirate dress, those rough days can be a little easier for a little girl whose smile can light up a room.