Ocoee police, firefighters and city volunteers held a princess party for Katie on Feb. 19
OCOEE When the Ocoee Parks and Recreation Department called to ask if driving a horse and carriage down the street was legal, Ocoee Police officer Lt. Bill Wager became curious.
What was the horse and carriage for, he asked.
It was for 6-year-old Katie Tagney, who is fighting cancer.
Her family had reached out to Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida back in November, requesting help to take Katie on a trip to Walt Disney World. The organization granted Katie’s wish and sent her, her mom, her grandma and her younger sister to Disney World during the first week of March.
But on Sunday, Feb. 19, dozens of volunteers, firefighters, police officers and even Cinderella came to Bill Breeze Park to celebrate the fulfillment of Katie’s wish.
“It was an honor to be able to do something for somebody who needs it,” Wagner said. “It meant a lot to me and to the officers who got to participate.”
Cinderella’s carriage, pulled by a horse, waited for Katie at Bill Breeze Park. When she and her mom arrived, Katie’s smile couldn’t have been bigger.
“When she got out of the car and saw this big, beautiful Cinderella carriage, to see that look in her eyes and how she lit up was wonderful,” Wagner said.
The department presented Katie with several gifts, including a stuffed animal dressed as a police dog and a police hat.
“She quickly traded her tiara for her police hat and seemed proud to be part of our family,” Wagner said.
They also gave her a shadow box containing various items from the department, like a police patch and a challenge coin. But that gift wasn’t really for Katie, Wagner said.
“We know how these situations can go,” he said. “So that shadow box was more for her mom later on.”
For Wagner, the day brought back another Make-A-Wish memory.
“Make-A-Wish took care of cousin (when I was younger) and really made an impact in our lives,” he said. “So I wanted to give back.”
And finding fellow Ocoee Police officers to volunteer for the event wasn’t a hard task.
“Our officers were great,” Wagner said. “The best part for them was leading the carriage with lights on, being part of the magical moment for somebody.”
Like many other 6-year-old girls, Katie is a fan of princesses. According to Make-A-Wish, Katie’s favorite colors are pink, purple and blue, and she loves the movie “Moana.” The organization even set up a special meet-and-greet session during Katie’s trip to Disney with Princess Elsa from the movie “Frozen.”
Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected].