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Sequim family makes magical memories with cancer patient

Cheryl Ghere and her granddaughter Olivia walk the streets of Disneyland for the first time together. Ghere said one of her goals was for her new granddaughters to see Mickey Mouse and the castle for the first time.  - Photo courtesy of Lacy Thompson
Cheryl Ghere and her granddaughter Olivia walk the streets of Disneyland for the first time together. Ghere said one of her goals was for her new granddaughters to see Mickey Mouse and the castle for the first time.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Lacy Thompson

A recent trip to the Magic Kingdom helped create some memorable moments for Cheryl Ghere, 58, and her family.

After an online fundraiser by her daughter Lacy Thompson set for $7,000 raised $8,000, Ghere and her family were off to Anaheim, Calif. on March 13-18 to visit Disneyland.

The reason: Ghere who has been battling colorectal cancer for three years received a diagnosis on Feb. 12 that her cancer went terminal with doctors giving her nine months to two years to live due to inoperable cancer in her pelvic soft tissues.

Ghere, the former finance director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, has been a huge Disney fan her whole life and wanted to share a special trip with her grandchildren.

She last visited in 2007 with her three eldest grandchildren and wanted to see her youngest granddaughters see Mickey Mouse for the first time.

Thompson said that’s exactly what happened.

On their last day in Disneyland, Ghere opted not to go on Splash Mountain but watch a parade with granddaughters Emma, 2, and Olivia, 1 ½.

“The babies had not seen Mickey Mouse in person yet, so we rushed from Splash Mountain to the parade route to find my mom and the girls,” she said.

“The parade was halfway done and Mickey had already been through. We all missed the girls’ faces when they saw Mickey, however my mom was the first one to see their faces. I’m glad my mom was able to have that moment, by herself, with the girls.”

Ghere traveled with nine family members including Thompson, Ghere’s two other daughters Lindsey Richardson and Kelsey Blair, Lindsey’s husband Derek, and Ghere’s grandchildren Olivia and Emma, Kynsie Richardson, 11, Hailie Richardson, 15, and Jordan Richardson, 17.

By making their online goal, the family stayed in the Disneyland Hotel in two adjoining rooms and met several Disney characters.

As for the trip overall, Thompson said it was outstanding with perfect weather and good attitudes.

“I sincerely hope everyone who donated knows just how much they helped my mom and her family by giving us this opportunity,” she said. “I hope this thank you finds them filled with warmth and happiness to know they helped a family make some everlasting memories.”

Thompson said one particular moment will never leave her.

“Disneyland put on a fireworks show that they do every weekend (and) when Tinkerbell flew over the castle, I looked over at my mom and she was crying yet had a huge smile on her face,” she said. “I will never forget that moment.”

Extended care

While the trip was a happy one, Ghere did become ill on March 18 after doctors found she had two blocked intestines due to heavy scar tissue from radiation.

Thompson said her mother was in the hospital for eight days but she’s happy to be home.

Ghere will recover for up to six weeks before beginning chemotherapy again.

“Our main focus is to get our mom better to keep her around as long as possible,” Thompson said.

To read more about Ghere,’s online fundraiser visit www.gofundme.com/6ydn6g.

An account for medical fees is established in Ghere’s name with Sound Community Bank.

 

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