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Young patients given a magical trip to the North Pole

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Posted at 10:35 PM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 22:35:35-05

LANSING, Mich. — A group of airline workers are coming out of retirement in Detroit to go on one very special flight.

The Silverliners partner up with hospitals across the state to give children with life-threatening illnesses the chance to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the North Pole.

You don’t have to be around 5-year-old MaryJane Seehoff long to know the kid’s got a lot of spunk.

"100 million thousand 69 people tell me that," said Seehoff.

But it took a lot of hospital beds to get to where she is today.

“Because I was battling leukemia,” said Seehoff.

Seehoff was diagnosed the day after Christmas 2016, when she was just 2 years old.

"It's been very hard. It's been very, very hard for her...very traumatic" said Seehoff’s grandmother, Linda Soliz.

After two years of tests and procedures, doctors decided to switch up her treatment plan, and have her nurses give her a new medicine, one that was so special, she'd have to go all the way to Detroit to get it.

That’s right, a round-trip ticket free of charge to the North Pole.

With a boarding pass in her hand, and Christmas carols all around her, MaryJane stepped off the plane to a terminal transformed.

"The expression was just unbelievable. Her eyes were really wide, her jaw dropped and she was just amazed. It was wonderful. It was beautiful," said Soliz.

"It's really hard to capture the sense of joy that's on their face when they step off that plane,” said Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Cheri Salazar. “It's magic. It really is. It's just magic.”

There to greet her? Superheroes, princesses, mascots, even the big man himself! All there to dance and laugh the night away with games, gifts and the kind of food that doesn’t come on a hospital tray.

“It was Sweettarts, and suckers,” said Seehoff.

And that magical medicine did the trick. Now, 5 years old, MaryJane is in remission.

"I was sick, but I was good,” said Seehoff.

And she doesn’t have enough thumbs to express what that day meant to her.

"It was 99 thumbs up," said Seehoff.

"They forget they're sick when they go on this, we all do," said Salazar.

Which is truly, the biggest gift of all.

Sparrow hospital is the only hospital in mid-Michigan to participate in the program at Detroit Metro Airport.

The next fantasy flight leaves for the North Pole on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

For more information on the Silverliners, visit their website at http://www.thesilverliners.org/

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