Camille Fraser has always dreamed of fulfilling another person’s wish.
On Wednesday, April 16, Fraser and more than 70 members of Pi Delta social club did just that.
They made 3-year-old cancer patient Rayan Abidi’s dream vacation to Disney World a reality through a project coordinated with the Make-A-Wish organization.
Fraser, a December Lipscomb graduate, and her Pi Delta sisters worked all school-year long to raise funds needed to grant the wish. They raised more than $7,500 to make Rayan’s wish come true through a variety of fundraisers including a Cocoa and Carols event in December and have received donations from each club member, other students, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends.
Each year, Pi Delta organizes a community service project. But, this is the first time any Lipscomb group has granted a wish. Pi Delta partnered with Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee and was paired with the Abidi family, who moved to Nashville from Morocco several years ago.
“Granting a child’s wish has always been a dream of mine,” said Fraser, a former Make-A-Wish recipient who had a wish granted to go to Disney World after she was diagnosed with cancer at age 13. “It’s great to be able to give back to someone else.”
Before Rayan and his family found out they were going to Disney World, students led them on a Disney-themed treasure hunt around campus. They stopped in rooms decorated in the spirit of Disney movies “Cars,” “Up,” “Peter Pan,” “Monsters Inc.” and “Winnie the Pooh.” Each Pi Delta pledge class decorated and coordinated a room. Students dressed up as characters from each of the movies and led Rayan and his family through activities in each room.
When Rayan completed the treasure hunt, he was surprised with a treasure chest that included personalized Mickey Mouse ears and news that he and his family were headed to Disney World.
“Just the fact that we get to grant this little boy a wish and he gets to do something amazing that we paid for is awesome,” said Shelby Farley, a member of Pi Delta.
When he was 10-months-old, Rayan was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, the most common extra cranial in children and the most common cancer in infancy, with an incidence of about six hundred fifty cases per year in the United States. He endured multiple rounds of treatment at Monroe Carell Jr.’s Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Rayan’s cancer is now in remission.
The last few years have been challenging for the Abidi family.
“It has been tough on us financially. I have worked many jobs to help pay for a year-and-a-half of chemotherapy treatments,” said Novrrdine Abidi, Rayan’s father. “I am happy that we are in the United States where the treatment is better and where he has a better chance to survive.”
The all-expenses paid trip to Disney will provide a bright spot for the family.
“We feel very good. Very happy,” said Novrrdine. “We appreciate everything these students and Lipscomb has done for us. Rayan is very happy.”
Rayan, will travel to Disney World with his parents and older brother May 9 for a weeklong vacation.