For 10 years, Queenstown youngster Amelia Cassidy wasn’t allowed to go on a rollercoaster because of a congenital heart condition.
Next week she’ll get to fulfil her dream of jumping on an exhilarating ride at one of the world’s most famous theme parks, Disneyland, in Los Angeles, thanks to a charity for sick kids.
Amelia, now 12, has been given a free two-week trip of a lifetime through Koru Care, with the help of the newly-revived Central Otago branch of Heart Children New Zealand.
The Queenstown Primary student was born with a heart defect that causes inadequate oxygenation of the lungs and had a small hole in it.
At nine weeks old, she went into heart failure and needed urgent surgery to fix the malfunctioning artery.
Last year, the doctors gave her a clean bill of health.
Amelia was once a poster child for the local Heart Children branch which col-lapsed after its Queenstown boss Fiona Moran stole $22,835 from it in 2007.
When a new branch was established last year, Amelia’s mum Chris decided to reconnect with the group. Soon after, they discovered Amelia had scored the free trip.
“They really wanted someone from Heart Children Central Otago to go, so it kicks off the new branch in a positive way,” Chris Cassidy says.
Amelia, who’ll fly with 16 other sick kids, is excited most about her rollercoaster ride.
“I’ve never been able to go on one because of my heart but now I can.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”