Chicago girl, 12, with rare illness given family vacation to Florida

Thursday, December 14, 2017
Chicago girl, 12, with rare illness given family vacation to Florida
Aoife Gallagher, 12, was surprised Dec. 13, 2017 with news that her family was going to Florida for a vacation.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 12-year-old girl battling a serious illness and her family are going on vacation to Florida, thanks to the Baking Memories 4 Kids organization.

Aoife Gallagher was given the news Wednesday that she was going to "Disney World, Sea World, Lego Land, every amusement park."

Frank Squeo, of Baking Memories 4 Kids, with the Chicago Fire Department surprised Aoife and her 9-year-old brother Fionn.

Aoife is battling leukodystrophy, a disorder affecting the white matter of the brain, which impacts movement, speech, vision, hearing and mental and physical development. The disease is fatal.

"It is so rare that is only about 250 people in the world and currently there is no treatment or cure," mom Margaret Gallagher said.

In 2012, Squeo founded the charity which sends children battling life-threatening or terminal illnesses on trips to Florida theme parks.

"Ten years ago, I had advanced Stage 3 cancer," Squeo said. "I was able to survive but I knew it was a reason for what I went through."

The Gallagher family is the first family from Chicago to be honored by the charity.

The trip aims to give Fionn a chance to have more memories with his big sister.

"Memories for kids together so they can have memories together and remember her always," mom said.

The family will head to Florida at the beginning of the year for a week.