An 11-year-old girl with a life-threatening condition had her wish of a shopping spree and makeover come true on Wednesday.
On the outside, Kalisaa Burkholder looked like a beauty queen, but on the inside she is one tough trooper.
“You should keep trying, never give up,” Kalissa said.
Kalissa lives with a condition called arteriovenous malformation, or AVM. The condition causes intense pressure to build in the brain, leading Kalissa to have two strokes at just 10 years old.
Her parents said it took nine months for their daughter to learn how to walk and talk, let alone be the gregarious girl she is today.
“She was mute for five months, having to relearn how to eat, swallow, things we take for granted, they have to, depending on the outcome of their stroke, relearn,” Kalissa’s mom, Amy Burkholder said.
Her parents said they had no idea that a young girl could have a stroke at such an early age.
However, they said looking back and knowing what they know now, there were warning signs of her condition.
Doctors said falling behind in math and reading and having severe headaches are indicators of the illness.
“It was starting to get strange. She wouldn’t pay attention to the teacher. She would just go off into her own world,” Kalissa’s dad, Terry Burkholder said.
However, less than two years after her stroke, she has recovered and her dreams are coming true.
Her wish was granted by the Kids Wish Network for the day of a lifetime.
She was given star treatment, starting with a limo ride to the mall, her hair and makeup being professionally done, and a shopping spree at Valley Mall.
“It makes you warm inside after everything they endured, the pain, the surgeries, it makes it a little more bearable knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Amy Burkholder said.