(Editor's Note: Thanks to reader Agnes McGlone Swanson for sending in this story.)
When Laguna Niguel resident Kathleen Biagi heard about 11-year-old Laura Snyder’s hospital stay over Halloween, memories of her own daughter’s battle with Leukemia came rushing back to mind.
Her daughter, Natalie Biagi, now a healthy, vivacious 7-year-old was struck with Leukemia at just two years old. Cancer-free for three years now, Natalie loves dancing and singing with her dad, Rob Biagi.
“I will never forget when Natalie was in the hospital for treatment, she was so looking forward to Halloween and dressing up as Minnie Mouse. She was sad to have missed it, and it was weeks before she started feeling better and was able to even walk again. She wanted to get dressed up in her costume and just walk around, so we went around our neighborhood and when our neighbors saw us they started motioning for us to have her come over to 'trick or treat.'
"It touched my heart so much that Natalie was able to celebrate after all. We didn't care that it was a few weeks late. The expression on Natalie's face was priceless and I will never forget that experience,” said Kathleen.
That experience is where Kathleen got the idea last week, to do the same thing for young Laura Snyder who was recently hospitalized for a continuously high fever that had lasted 10 days prior to being admitted.
“We have such wonderful neighbors here in Rancho Niguel, I thought I would ask them if they would be willing to help me 'recreate' Halloween for Laura so she could have the chance to wear her costume, have some fun and of course get some candy,” explained Kathleen.
“Well, my neighbors went all out, they really made Laura feel special. Not only were they willing to be home to give out candy to Laura, but many of them even put up their Halloween decorations again! I could not have asked for more and I could tell that Laura and her mom were overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity, and so was I,” she shared.
When asked what she thought of the entire experience Laura’s mom, Maralee Snyder said: “We were abundantly blessed by this outpouring of love from the Biagi family. We attend the same church and have gotten to know them well. I will never forget the joy and excitement on Laura's face doing the trick-or-treating, the games and then the great candy sort back at home. She received a grocery bag full of candy, cookies, and prizes. Laura sorted them with a keen sense of detail; each type of candy separated into groups. Laura will never forget this day. Our gratitude runs deep for this precious family and their thoughtful neighbors who went above and beyond to make our sweet daughter's wish come true.”
Most recent tests have come back negative and Laura has made a full recovery.