Metro-East News

Belleville girl with life-threatening tumor wanted to meet a tiger. Her wish came true.

Through Make-A-Wish, a 12-year-old Belleville girl was able to make her dream of playing with a tiger come true.

Make-A-Wish Illinois is an organization dedicated to fulfilling once-in-a-lifetime wishes for children who have life-threatening illnesses. In 2016, Allison Higgins was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She carried her favorite stuffed toy, a white tiger, through her many doctors visits.

Allison-5-white tiger
Through Make-A-Wish Illinois, Allison Higgins, 12, of Belleville, was able to make her dream of playing with a white tiger come true. Provided

During one of her trips, Allison was introduced to Make-A-Wish. Throughout the harder days of her illness, the dream of interacting with a real white tiger gave Allison something good to look forward to.

Allison and her family traveled to the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami, Florida, where she had the opportunity to play with a white tiger cub. It climbed all over Allison and even licked her hair.

She considers the experience to be unforgettable.

Allison-6-White tiger cub_on back
Through Make-A-Wish Illinois, Allison Higgins, 12, of Belleville, was able to make her dream of playing with a white tiger come true. Provided

Allison’s mother, Cynthia Higgins, said, in a press release, “We have never seen a bigger smile on her face.”

Cynthia Higgins said just the knowledge that she was going to have her wish fulled helped Allison make it through her treatments. “Allison’s face lit up and her attitude changed to a more positive and happy girl,” she said.

Make-A-Wish says research shows that children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength needed to fight illnesses.

Since its foundation in 1985, Make-A-Wish Illinois has granted more than 14,000 wishes. To recommend a child or learn more, go online to illinois.wish.org/refer or call 800-978-9474.

Eight-year-old Ryland Gallagher’s wish has always been to meet alligators and crocodiles. The Make-A-Wish Foundation made that wish come true for the Colorado Springs boy who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

Heidi Wiechert: 618-239-2500, @BND_HeidiW

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