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September 22, 2023

North suburban girl battling degenerative disorder surprised with trip to Hawaii

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GURNEE, Ill. — A little girl from Lake Forest who is battling a degenerative disorder is headed to Hawaii with her family thanks to a generous surprise on Friday.

5-year-old Hannah Weiss arrived at the Learning Experience Gurnee with her parents and four siblings, who were unaware of the special surprise that was in store.

“We are going to send her off, her and her family, off to Hawaii,” Mollie Blixt, Learning Experience Area Director, said.

Hannah was born with a degenerative and eventually fatal genetic brain disorder and is only able to travel with a wheelchair, breathing machine and feeding machine.

“Taking the trip in the first place is a really big deal because we can never travel with the whole family, Hannah’s mom, Kimberly Weiss said.

Now, thanks to the generosity of families from the Learning Experience Gurnee and Make A Wish Illinois, Hannah and her family will soon have to chance to relax in the Hawaiian sunlight.

re-schoolers from the Learning Experience Gurnee and their families, with the help of Make A Wish Illinois, spent several months fundraising to bring the plan to fruition, eventually raising more than $10,000 to help relieve the stress of travel.

“We’ve done pizza fundraiser nights, we’ve done penny wars. You know the kiddos have come home and said ‘I need all my change, I need all my change!’ and we bring it in,” Sierra Zaban, a Learning Experience parent, said.

The Learning Experience, at seven different locations across Illinois & Michigan, raised a collective $50,000 to help other families.

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