Four-year-old Harper, diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumor, took a magical journey through Inventionland on a scavenger hunt led by Inventionland Creationeers and Make-A-Wish® volunteers, where clues led her to unveil a hidden secret – her wish!
To many young visitors, Inventionland is a place of excitement and creativity. With tours of young school children and community groups visiting our unique 61,000 square foot invention factory each week, it’s not unusual for working Creationeers to hear the buzz of excited kids bustling about the creative space.
Around this time last month, however, Inventionland opened its doors to one very special, young visitor who saw Inventionland not only as an exciting and creative space, but a place of mystery, magic, wonder and hidden secrets!
Four-year-old Harper is sweet, sassy and full of imagination and creativity. Harper loves to dress up in princess dresses and loves castles. Most of all, she loves Disney’s Maleficent. Harper fully believes she has magical powers – and we’re pretty sure she does, too – because she didn’t let cancer fade her tremendous spirit.
Coming to terms with the reality that their only child had Wilms’ Tumor was difficult for parents, Melanie and Steve of Pittsburgh, PA.
“I think from the moment the social worker at the hospital told me that Make-A-Wish® would get involved with us, that very eligibility changed my understanding of what we were going through. My first reaction was ‘Why us? That’s for other people.’ But, then I realized we are ‘other people’ now. It helped me work through my denial a little bit,” said Harper’s father, Steve.
It would be Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia volunteers that took Harper’s love for both castles and Maleficent to Inventionland, setting up a scavenger hunt that would ultimately lead Harper to uncover a secret Maleficent hid inside Inventalot Castle – that she will be headed to Disney World in October!
“Bippity, boppity, boo!” were the magic words said by an excited Harper as she waved her magic wand to open the hidden bookcase door to enter Inventionland, where she was led by Inventionland tour guide Tony and photographer Mike.
“We really appreciate Tony and Mike for taking time out of their work day,” said Harper’s mother Melanie. “Tony did a good job of reinforcing the fantasy of it all, that this was Maleficent’s doing and that he needed Harper’s help [to unveil the hidden secret],” said Melanie.
From the moment the bookcase door opened to finding the first clue on Pirate Ship Discovery, Harper was hooked to the storyline.
“She hasn’t really been in an immersive, themed environment like that before,” said Melanie, who noted she and her husband Steve were also impressed with the creative space. “I had no idea of what Inventionand was about. Seeing all those products [in CEO and founder George Davison’s office] was pretty overwhelming, but to know there was this whole, sort of secret, world behind the bookshelf was pretty fun.”
Melanie, an architect, went on to further note, “A lot of companies say they want creative space, but they don’t really know what creative space means. It’s hard to break out of the mold even if it’s a really nice cubicle farm, its still a cubicle farm. What’s interesting about Inventionland is [that Mr. Davison] really made a bold move to try it out. Some might be scared that people won’t be productive in an environment that contains ‘whimsy.’ There are people that actually work there and it’s kind of surreal to see that,” said Melanie.
From the looks of things, Harper and her family had a blast in our creative space. “I loved Inventionland!” said Harper.
“I think that it was an otherworldly experience. Harper has already asked ‘Can we go back there?’ It’s difficult to explain it’s not an amusement park, but a place that people work,” said Melanie. “The whole evening was just the perfect match for what her wish is and what her personality is. I couldn’t have imagined a better place for her wish reveal.”
With the wish reveal falling on the eve of Harper’s last chemotherapy treatment, her family found out weeks later that Harper is now in remission! Best wishes for a safe and happy trip to Disney World!
Copyright Inventionland, 2016