GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A very deserving little girl and her family are enjoying a trip to Walt Disney World, free of charge. There was a big send off party waiting for them Friday morning.
Posters were made, nerves were on edge, and the welcoming party was ready to see the Rainey family walk in to the Gulfport Biloxi International Airport.
All of the celebration was meant for 3-year-old Saniya Rainey. She and her family are headed to the happiest place on earth. But to get to this point in her life was not easy.
"It's been kind of a rough journey but I've never had a bigger and better support system," said Saniya's mom, Devanie.
Saniya has been battling a widespread cancer for almost all of her life. Now, because of community support from the Gulf Coast Association of Realtors and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Mississippi, Saniya and her family are taking a trip together.
"I didn't think it was going to be this many people. We really don't know anybody here, so I was surprised," said Saniya's dad, Ryan.
The Raineys are stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Devanie is active duty. The only family they have nearby is their Keesler family.
"I think God placed them here. Everything happens for a reason and I thank God for them," said Devanie.
The Raineys say that the support they've received from people like Krista Mercadel has been a Godsend.
"I'm grateful to be a part of their family and that she's allowed all of us to come into their lives and be there for them. It's been difficult," said Master Sgt. Krista Mercadel, Superintendent of the Military Personnel Section at Keesler Air Force Base.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation also now considers the Raineys as family. Shellie Moses, director of south Mississippi's Make-A-Wish says it's humbling to reach out and help in a situation like this.
"When you see a child this young battling as much as she has her entire life it kind of brings you down to reality and it makes you appreciative for what you have," said Moses.
And what this family has is a meaningful trip that will give them memories that will last for years to come.