Star Wars and the magical world of Harry Potter overtook Williams Lake Regional Airport Thursday afternoon to bid farewell to 9-year-old Lucie Bertoli who is off to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida through Make A Wish Foundation.
“This community just keeps doing things for us and it’s incredible,” Lucie’s mother Claire said choking back tears.
“They’re just so generous. People don’t even know, and it’s so humbling. We’re just very, very grateful.”
Claire said it was Lucie’s doctor who applied to Make a Wish Foundation last spring with Lucie making her wish in the summer.
“We found out in November that we were going, and she found out in December at the hospital when she had chemo,” Claire said.
“They did a scavenger hunt for her and she found out so we’ve been excited for a while.”
“We were asked and it’s a wonderful thing to do,” Joan said of the surprise event in which her husband, Richard had spent a couple of hours working on his lathe to make Lucie’s wand.
“Anybody I think had they been asked would have done it too. Lots of good people around willing to help.”
Joan added that she and Jazmyn still had people calling the store wanting to take part in the send-off before they left for the Airport.
“Lucie and her family are customers in our store,” she said.
“They’re a lovely family and they don’t deserve what’s going on.”
Donning Harry Potter glasses and assisting airport staff with decorating was Lead agent for Central Mountain Airlines, Carrie Sundahl.
“Of course to leave Williams Lake where she lives, she’s flying with us. So knowing this in advance we thought because Williams Lake is so great in bringing the community together, I actually approached the Realm of Toys and said is there anything you guys can do to help out to at least give her a going away party as to start off this whole special adventure for her.”
Calling it a team effort with the pilots and airport security taking part and Taylor Made Cakes donating cupcakes and Laureen Carruthers doing photography, Sundahl said it was an honor to welcome Lucie who will be turning 10 at the end of this month.
“Lucie will be coming back on Sunday, Jan. 27 so anybody that wants to come and greet her is welcome,” Sundahl said.
“We’re going to make a nice banner to say welcome home and we’re looking forward to hearing the stories.”
During their time in Orlando, Claire said the Bertoli family will be staying at a special resort for kids who made a wish and a have a life-limiting or life-threatening disease called Give Kids the World.
Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year, Lucie has just over another year of chemo treatment remaining.
“She’s got a long road but she’s doing well and she’s very brave,” Claire said.
“She’s dealt with all this very maturely for her age so we’re very proud of her.”