October 10, 2012 - Another of Izabel Wiegand's wishes has come true.
Izabel Wiegand sits next to a poster of Brave main character Merida. Photo by L. Farrell. (click for larger version)
The third-grader from Carpenter Elementary went ice-skating with Merida, star of the Disney movie "Brave" on Oct. 4.
Izabel and six other area children attended the invitation-only special reception with Merida at the Palace of Auburn Hills where they practiced their archery and ice-skating skills.
Izabel said Merida was her favorite Disney princess and was especially fond of the energy and heroism displayed by the animated archer with the fiery-locks.
Merida is Izabel's favorite because "she gets to shoot bows and arrows and when she was young she went into the forest by herself to go get her bow."
Merida's independence and courage are character traits shared by the young Izabel.
Three years after a heart transplant operation, the brave youngster is the picture of strength and resilience. Following her surgery, she had a wish to visit Disney World that was granted. There, she met many Disney princesses and received a makeover at the Bippity-Boppity-Boutique.
Izabel celebrated her eighth birthday on September 2, seven days after her heart transplant anniversary, which was three years ago.
Izabel's illness gave everyone a scare in 2009, but she hasn't looked back since she got her new heart.
Her father, John, said there have been "no signs of rejection whatsoever. She is as healthy as a horse."
A few years ago was quite a different story, said Izabel's mother and father.
They were staying at the hospital virtually around the clock since Izabel became sick and her heart began to deteriorate. With her condition worsening, she was placed at the top of the donor list.
Then a call come on September 1, 2009 telling them a donor had been located and that Izabel would undergo heart-transplant surgery the next day.
Izabel came through her surgery with flying colors, but learning that transplant was the last and best option was a harrowing experience for the young parents. As Holly Weigand recounted, "It was the worst day of your life followed by the best day of your life."
All those worries are behind the family now. Izabel wouldn't brag about herself, but both mother Holly and sister Shannon said that Izabel is "super brave."