PROVIDENCE, RI (CBS) – Five-year-old Arianna Taft loves Disney princesses. When a local photographer heard about her brave fight with cancer, she gave her the dress up play date of her dreams. And even bought the costumes.
“It’s incredible that something that takes such a small amount of time out of my day, or my week, can have such a powerful impact,” said Ashley Richer. “It gives them their own sense of hope cause they’re so small and they can believe in magic a little bit more.”
For Richer it’s important to create magical moments for children. A few years ago, one of her son’s best friends passed away from a terminal illness. Richer honors her spirit by helping kids like Arianna live out a fairytale photoshoots.
Arianna was diagnosed with an advanced form kidney cancer back in May. Her family has since dedicated their energy into supporting her through chemotherapy and radiation.
Her father Ryan Taft said recent scans show promise. “She woke up one morning and she had a softball sized lump on her side and then not even 12 hours later we’re sitting in the emergency room. It’s scary and heartbreaking at the same time,” Ryan said. “But that first day was the toughest and really the only day we could be sad about the situation and break down. She’s done the whole thing with a smile and continues to inspire everyone and amaze us with every single thing she does.”
Her story has resonated across the country. Hundreds of people are rallying around the Woonsocket girl. A GoFundMe page is raising money to help the family, and many often send words of encouragement through social media. A ‘Team Ari’ Facebook group has 1,200 members and growing.
“Outside of everything going on, she’s a happy little girl,” Ryan said. “She’s our rock. She really is.”