Hixson’s Jarrell has dream come true

“A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep,” according to Cinderella, and it was Hixson resident Deanna Jarrell’s dream to visit Disney World with her family at Christmastime to see the decorations and parades.

It wasn’t blowing out all the candles on a cake or catching a glimpse of a shooting star that made her wish come true. The Avalon Hospice patient’s wish was granted by the Dream Foundation.


Contributed photo

Hixson’s Deanna Jarrell hangs out with characters from Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” at Disney World recently.

“I was depressed and my friends online asked me what would make me happy and I said ‘Disney World,’” said the 47-year-old, who is battling many life-threatening illnesses. “My daughter Breanna wrote a letter to the Dream Foundation for me. They had a special application for hospice and Avalon Hospice helped me with that. It was my Christmas miracle.”

Living on Social Security, Jarrell could not afford to go to “the happiest place on Earth” without the assistance, she said. She took her son-in-law Derek, her daughter Breanna and their baby Zoey to Disney World with her.

“My granddaughter Zoey took her first steps there,” Jarrell said. “When I’m gone my daughter will have the pictures. None of this would have been possible without the Dream Foundation.”

Despite her many afflictions including COPD, neuropathy, diabetes, Meniere’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, Jarrell still keeps in good spirits by hanging out with Zoey and looking at her Disney World photos.

“I love Cinderella and Cinderella’s castle. Even though Cinderella was picked on, she always had a kind heart,” said Jarrell.

She said taking Zoey to Disney World made it much more fun. Some highlights of the trip were when she and Zoey got to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Tinkerbell. Jarrell said she was able to ride the train and the Little Mermaid ride with Zoey too.

“The Disney World parades are just amazing,” said Jarrell. “They have a light-up parade at night with the caterpillar from ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ butterflies and Cinderella in her coach. It is all neon.

“The first night we got there [the Dream Foundation] put us up in a beautiful resort suite with two full bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a dining room and a play area. It was beautiful. We went to downtown Disney and walked around. Then we went to the T-Rex Restaurant and the entire restaurant is inside a volcano and everything inside is animated. Over the bar an octopus hangs down and the tentacles move. We sat next to the baby mammoths.”

Despite being overjoyed at having her wish come true, Jarrell does not see the trip as a bright spot on an otherwise bleak existence, despite the fact that she must use medications and breathing machines to manage her pain.

“Everyone dies differently,” she said. “I’m the lucky one because I get to say goodbye. Every day I tell my family I love them.”

Having hospice’s help does not mean one’s life is over, just that the patient needs assistance, said Jarrell, who although she no longer works as a paramedic, crisis pregnancy counselor or child care worker, continues to volunteer to teach scrapbooking at John Calvin Apartments.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.