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Mt. Juliet cancer patient gets wish granted

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Little Karli Costley gets a kiss from Minnie Mouse just before kick-off at the Mt. Juliet football game on Friday, Sept. 11 .

CHUCK THOMPSON / The Wilson Post

The Wilson Post

Karli Costley’s wish is finally coming true as the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee is granting her Disney World wish by providing her with a tip to the amusement park.

The beautiful little girl, who suffers from retinoblastoma, wished to have a Disney Adventure.

On Friday, Sept. 11, Karli, 4, was surprised by friends and family with the news before kickoff of the Mt. Juliet High School football game. This is a special place for Karli as she was recently named an honorary Mt. Juliet High cheerleader.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Ariel, who is Karli’s favorite Disney princess, greeted Karli on the field to announce the news that she and her family will be receiving her spending money and trip itinerary as well.

After the announcement there, Karli and her new friends from Disney had refreshments in a tent at the south end zone to celebrate her wish coming true. Then Karli returned to the field and took her spot as the “little Bear cheerleader.”

The family found out about the wish being granted in May and will go on their trip during Fall Break in October.

“The sweetest part was the girl who was Ariel,” said Karli’s mom Amy. “Her name is Miranda Miller and she’s from Sweetwater, Tenn. She met Karli at a benefit and Karli thought she really was Ariel.”

“Miranda just fell in love with Karli and had been following her site,” she added. “Last week, they couldn’t find anyone in the area to dress up as Ariel and Miranda volunteered to drive down for the night and do this for Karli. It was so sweet.”

In August 2008, Karli, of Old Hickory, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, malignant tumor of the retina.

“Karli has always been known by everyone for having the biggest most beautiful blue eyes,” said Patricia Ledford, director of Communications and Development for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “It was very ironic that she was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease in those very same eyes.”

The Costley’s decided to treat Karli with a new clinical treatment at New York’s Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The procedure was to infuse chemotherapy directly into Karli’s eye to try and avoid removing it completely. So far the treatments have been effective in saving her eyes; however, the process is still ongoing.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Started in 1980 when a group of caring individuals helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 67 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 161,000 wishes in the U.S. since inception.

Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at

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