Young girl's wish to visit Hawaii comes true

Bono girl gets her wish granted
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

BONO, AR (KAIT) - The Make-A-Wish Foundation surprised a young Bono girl suffering from a rare disorder Sunday afternoon at her church.

At 36 pounds and 3 feet and 2.5 inches tall, Josie Cullen is what many refer to as a tough little girl.

She has already undergone several surgeries in her lifetime.

She was shocked Sunday to learn what she thought was a regular community event at Bono Church of Christ, ended up being her wish granting.

"I always wanted to go to Hawaii and swim with the dolphins," Josie said.

Josie learned about Hawaii from watching Full House reruns in the hospital.

Going there was a dream she didn't see coming true this soon.

Family, friends and the wish granters with the Make-A-Wish Foundation threw a luau-themed party to share the news with Josie.

"Well, she has been through a lot and I know that it's something that she has really wanted and I'm very excited she's getting her dream," said Zach Melton, Josie's older brother.

Josie suffers from VACTERL syndrome, which is a rare disorder that has affected her vertebrae, heart, renal system, and limbs since she was born.

Even at the age of 7, and after 20 different surgeries with several more ahead of her, Josie inspires many people.

"It's never made her stop because she is constantly trying to keep up with the other kids," said Belinda Norman, a family friend.

"The most courageous little girl you have ever seen," said Maxine Fisher, Josie's grandmother.

"She's really outgoing and just happy all around," Melton added.

"She is a tough little girl," Deania Vanhoozer, a wish granter, said.

Dana Cullen is Josie's mom and she said she is excited to relax with her family without having to worry about the next doctor's appointment.

"I don't even know how to put into words how thankful we are and really how emotional it makes me feel," Cullen said. "It's been tough to hold it together today."

Josie's family and friends were not the only ones excited.

"I'm very excited," Josie said. "Like Hawaii stuff was everywhere and I was like wowsers."

Her family said she'll be going into the second grade with a lot of knowledge on Hawaii.

"There's like a lot of mountains and volcanoes and I know that I'm a lot excited to go there," Josie said.

Josie is also an ambassador for Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

She leaves for her tropical paradise in August.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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