Community Recreates A Night In Paris For Girl Battling Brain Cancer
Wait until you see the level of detail that went into the surprise of a lifetime!
A suburban street located in a subdivision of Naperville, IL got an incredible makeover on Friday to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a very special 12-year-old girl.
Olivia Parker was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma in October 2018 and has battling the very aggressive form of brain cancer ever since. Sadly, there's no cure for the disease, but she's been getting the best care possible at nearby Lurie Children's Hospital.
When Olivia's dream vacation to Paris was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, her family and neighbors decided to surprise her by recreating the "City of Lights" on her street.
The street was professionally decorated and famous monuments like the Arc de Triomphe added to the Parisian theme. John Foley Photography
"She and her mom were supposed to take a trip to Paris and due to the pandemic were unable to do so. She's been so brave throughout her fight with cancer that we came up with the idea to bring Paris to her," Kelly Bradshaw, a neighbor of the Parkers, told NCTV-17. "This family deserved to have something this significant brought back to them to try and make what they're going through a little bit brighter."
The event was planned as a surprise for Olivia, whose dream vacation to Paris was cancelled due to the coronavirus. John Foley Photography
The street was professionally decorated with twinkling lights and an Eiffel Tower was set up on the Parkers' front lawn. A variety of Parisian shops and cafés lined the streets, including a chocolatier and a French bakery that offered fresh baguettes. Olivia and her parents even got a ride on a horse-drawn carriage!
The family enjoyed a ride on a horse-drawn carriage. John Foley Photography
One of the sweeter moments of the evening came when a teary-eyed Olivia danced with her father as Belle from the movie Beauty and the Beast sang "Tale As Old As Time."
"We had hoped to get a break from treatment for a while, but it's been amazing that treatment hasn't stopped, but neither have our friends and family and neighbors who have all been such a great support," Olivia's mom AnnaMaria said.
The city issued a 'block party' permit for the event and folks did their best to wear masks and practice safe social distancing.
The street was lined with Parisian cafes and boutiques. John Foley Photography
As for the night's guest of honor, Olivia couldn't stop smiling the entire time.
"It felt amazing. It's such a special memory," Olivia said. "It felt as good as going to Paris, France because my friends and family and so many people who love me got to be there with me!"
Belle from Beauty and the Beast even made an appearance for a sweet serenade. John Foley Photography
Along with being a normal, active seventh grader who enjoys swimming and making 'slime,' Olivia volunteers with a local organization called Cal's Angels to bring more awareness to pediatric cancer.
Even with all of her struggles, she makes it a priority to focus on the positive.
"I seem to always find something good to think about - even on hospital days or days when I don't feel good there are still so many great things - like all the great doctors and nurses who take care of me and my social worker who I love," Olivia said. "Also, there are always doughnuts!"
Just look at those smiles! John Foley Photography
What a sweet, well-deserved surprise. We're rooting for you, Olivia!