Makayla, 10, of Belfast, had a chapter of sickness in her life that lasted exactly three years. Since her diagnosis in 2008, Makayla has been fighting acute lymphatic leukemia and on Dec. 9, she marked her remission and the ending of her journey with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine.

“It all came full circle,” said her father, Matt. “Everything she went through for two-and-a-half years has been wiped away with this one week. When she looks back on this period in her life, she won’t think of the pain, the doctors, losing her hair or her hospital stays. She’ll think of the fun memories she made with her family at Disney World thanks to Make-A-Wish.”

What character will stand out in her mind the most from the amusement parks? Mickey? Buzz Lightyear? Princess Jasmine? No, not one of these characters, but her own special teddy bear, Fluffernutter, who surprised Makayla and her sister, Makenzie, by showing up all the way from Maine — even wearing his own matching blue Make-A-Wish T-shirt made by Grandma.

There to present Fluffernutter to the girls was an even bigger surprise: their cousin, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Ashley Yeaton, 20, who arrived earlier than expected from her station in Okinawa, Japan.

“The girls had no idea that Ashley was coming and everyone worked together to make this a surprise for them,” said Matt. “They pray for her every night and Skype with her when she can. She had a 20-hour flight and was then shuttled to the village to surprise the girls.”

In the moments before Ashley’s surprise arrival, the girls were playing games at the Give Kids The World Village — a special resort for children and families facing life-threatening medical conditions — with the staff and other guests. It was announced that Makayla and Makenzie had a special visitor who had come a long way to see them and if the girls could step on stage, they would meet their visitor.

The girls took the stage and were elated when Fluffernutter was revealed. So excited, in fact, that they did not look up at the hooded “staff member” — Ashley — as she presented the teddy bear. Upon removing her hood, Ashley yelled “Surprise!” and the girls quickly realized their beloved cousin was standing before them.

“It was a priceless moment,” said Matt. “The smile on Makayla’s face was unforgettable. Makenzie was clapping with joy and all the other kids and families at the village were able to share in the excitement.”

From that moment on, Fluffernutter and Ashley were part of the wish experience and, in fact, Ashley accompanied her cousins on so many roller-coasters that Matt said she nearly turned green. Fluffernutter even received his own cowboy hat after the group went horseback riding and a lei after a luau.

“It was really, really great,” said Ashley. “What Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World did for my cousin was awesome.”

Matt said he now wants to pay it forward for other families to be able to experience the joy they felt.

“I know it’s not possible to pay back the people who helped send us on this trip, but I’d like to pass it forward — give a gift that will keep giving like the memories from our trip. People went out of their way and there wasn’t a moment when Makayla didn’t feel special. Thank-you.”

Thank you to: Wish granters Brandi Moore and Ashley Russell, Northeast Limousine Services, Give Kids The World, and Avis.

Editor’s note: This article was written and submitted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine.