Getting the royal treatment

Girls fighting illness and chronic conditions turned into princesses for a day


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Four-year-old Hope Innis got her wish -- probably a few of them -- Sunday afternoon at the Princess for a Day's 10th anniversary event for charity held in the Manitoba Legislative Building's front foyer.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2015 (2779 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Four-year-old Hope Innis got her wish — probably a few of them — Sunday afternoon at the Princess for a Day’s 10th anniversary event for charity held in the Manitoba Legislative Building’s front foyer.

Hope and 93 other little girls aged 11/2 to eight years were transformed into princesses for the day in an event organized by Stella Mazza, the former owner of Stella’s Bridal Salon, who is herself a cancer survivor.

While 59 little princesses-in-the-making had tickets purchased for them, Hope and 34 other girls were special guests as they are battling life-threatening illnesses or chronic conditions.

Winnipeg Free Press Arriving in style: Princess Gillian Bridges helps Princess Kyanna Speiss off a horse-drawn carriage as Princess Tiffany Tran watches at the Princess For a Day fundraiser Sunday at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

“I hope to get a purple dress,” said Hope, when asked what colour of princess dress she would like to have. Hope was born with a congenital heart defect discovered shortly after she was born when she was struggling to breathe.

Her favourite princess?

“It’s a queen. Queen Elsa,” she said, referring to one of the main characters from the Disney movie Frozen.

Hope, who attended with her mom Heather, and the other girls in attendance arrived as regular girls and left as princesses.

“This year it’s double the amount of girls and just seeing all this, and especially in this facility, I’m just overwhelmed with joy,” said Mazza, who said proceeds from the event will support the Children’s Wish Foundation and several other children’s charities. It was the first time her event was held in the legislative building where they were granted access to the public areas of the foyer and second level.

Mazza said special guest princesses were invited through the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Dream Factory, Children’s Hospital and the Variety Club. She said she is grateful for the opportunity to create such a special day for a great cause.

“They (the girls battling life-threatening illnesses and chronic conditions) are faced with doctors or needles every day and surgeries and fear. This is a day where they can escape from that and just think about playing,” Mazza said.

Susan Line along with her daughter Khloe, 3, and her friend Lisa Park and her daughter Charlee, 3, bought tickets for the event.

“We thought it would be a great event for us to share and to support such a great cause,” Susan said.

Winnipeg Free Press Princess Hope Innis (centre), a fan of Queen Elsa from Frozen, displays her artwork at the Princess for a Day event while flanked by Princess Krista Leganchuk (left) and Princess Alana Moffat.

“I got a sucker and I’m going to see princesses!” Charlee said.

Kyanna Speiss, 5, attended with her mom Krista and made a special keepsake.

“My favourite princess is Aurora,” said Kyanna Speiss, 5, holding a glittery piece of art. “I made a craft. It’s Aurora’s castle.”

After a reception at the foot of the grand staircase that included snacks, crafts, princess tattoos, hair extensions and stick-on gem jewels, the girls were whisked away to “transformation stations” in the second floor’s East and West Halls where special dressing tables filled with sparkly lip gloss, glittery eye shadow, cheek rouge, hair accessories and tiaras awaited them. Along with those items, each girl received a purple princess gown to keep.

A number of volunteer adult princesses also wearing gowns were on hand to assist all the little girls in their transformations to princesses.

“Seeing how happy these little girls are really just changes your world. It makes me happy for the whole year to take their minds off what they’re dealing with and even if they’re not battling a life-threatening illness, they all should feel like a princess for a day,” said Krista Leganchuk, 25, one of the volunteer princesses, who is also working for CancerCare Manitoba. She volunteered last year when her boyfriend, Cole Guertin, was battling cancer. Guertin died in January.

“Last year when I was getting ready for the event, he was so proud and excited that I was going to go do something that would bring some joy to these little people,” Leganchuk said.

After the transformation, the princesses descended the grand staircase amid a ceremonial sword salute conducted by suit-clad members of the Charleswood Broncos football club.

Winnipeg Free Press Princess Pamela Fernandez tattoos Princess Khloe Line with a princess tattoo.

Cinderella appeared on the second floor balcony as a surprise guest and conducted a search for her glass slipper with the assistance of the princesses seated on the grand staircase.

She encouraged all the little princesses to remember some inspirational words to guide them in their journeys ahead.

“Have courage and be kind,” Cinderella said.

The princesses were then treated to lunch in the second floor rotunda at ornately decorated tables, which included take-home princess bags.

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