As a princess performer / Cosplayer I have been the center of so many smiles. I have had some of the best experiences of my life. I have met some of the greatest children on earth. It’s difficult to even call it a “job” or charity “work” because of how much I truly enjoy it. I can’t even explain how much I miss all of it. It’s absolutely heart wrenching. This pandemic has taken a toll on so many businesses. Luckily this business isn’t my only source of income so this is more of an emotional loss over a financial one. I do a lot of charity work and I’m used to not making much. Most of the time we barely even get our parking or travel validated. To be completely honest, nothing is more rewarding than seeing how happy we make these kids.
Through all of this , I have finally taken the time to reflect on everything. Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of the loss of a child I will never forget. Back in 2015, I met a child named Tessa at the Ronald McDonald House. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. I will never forget how strikingly beautiful she was. She just exuded such strength with her purple head scarf and tubes sticking out from her pretty dress. At the time I was dressed as Elsa. So she immediately introduced herself and asked me a bunch of questions about Arendelle. We walked over to the face painting station and she asked if she could give me a tattoo. Of course I obliged and we continued to hang out and dance the rest of the night away. When the party was over she asked if I’d come back for her. She asked if I could take her to my castle one day. I of course said yes, we hugged and I said goodbye. I got in the car along side a bunch of other princesses and ugly cried all the way home. I questioned if I can handle doing events like this. Was I strong enough to ever do this again? Tessa was stuck in my mind for months. I wondered how she was doing and I decided I was going to see if I could find her. I searched and searched. I finally came across the Facebook page title that read Love Team Tessa, and there she was. It was such a happy moment for me, seeing her doing well. Seeing her get to meet celebrities and go fun places. She looked like she was enjoying every moment. I sent a message to her mom and we were supposed to connect the next time she went to Ronald McDonald House, however the time never came. Tessa’s illness took a turn for the worst. I watched intently as her mom posted updates. Sadly the day after my birthday, the world lost Tessa. My only hope is that wherever Tessa is, she knows how much she fueled and inspired me to continue doing this. I see her face in so many children that I meet.
Since meeting Tessa, I have done so many hospital visits. Even for some children in hospice. I have met quite a few kids that I have lost and it all hurts just the same. It’s not something that ever gets easier. As an empath it’s really difficult to not get emotionally attached. As a person, I just feel I got stronger. I put on the brave face when I’m around them but I’ve broken down countless times after an event. Every event that I have done I have a heartfelt story that goes along with it. A lot of people don’t understand why I do this. Some even frown upon the fact that most of the time I don’t make much money. Some really don’t understand how I can be “strong” through it. I can tell you it’s not easy but it’s something I’d never trade. Seeing a child smile is one of the happiest feelings you can have. However seeing a child battling any kind of trauma or sickness smile is the greatest feeling in the world. These are things money can’t buy. I may not be rich or even close to having a lot of money but I have so many memories and experiences that money can truly never buy.
I don’t have children of my own yet and to be completely transparent, that sometimes gets me really down. Then I open my phone and flip through all these pictures of children that I met and that feeling slowly fades away. Whether I’m meant to have kids of my own or not I’m so proud of all I accomplished. I’ve met hundreds of kids and made so many of them smile. It may not be life changing but I know that for that little time I spent with them I made a small difference.
I started my princess company in 2014, I started The Enchanted Wish Program in 2015 after I met Tessa. The Enchanted Wish Program was for free one on one visits for trauma stricken or ill children. A couple years later (2018) I started the group the New York Avengers. That is strictly a charity group. We have done so many events in the past couple years. One of my favorite events was a recent birthday party that we did in January for a little boy named Dylan. I met Dylan and his beautiful mom Teresa at New York Comic Con in 2019. Dylan was battling Neuroblastoma. He wanted to meet all the NY Avengers and took a bunch of pictures with us. I told her that if she ever needed us, to reach out. She eventually did for Dylan’s birthday. Due to Dylan’s treatments and illness he hasn’t had a proper birthday in years. So, we decided to make an Amazon Wishlist that people can donate to. Long story short 20 NY Avengers walked in with sacks filled with so many presents Santa’s workshop would be a bit envious.
I’ve also worked with some of the best foundations. I work closely with Make-A-Wish. I team up with a lovely woman named Angelica and we deliver the “you’re going to Disney world” news to children who are battling severely or terminally ill. I have worked with St. Jude, The National Down Syndrome society, Autism speaks, Apraxia kids, The Ashley Lauren Foundation & The Cystic Fibrosis foundation. I have also visited Fink Children’s ward, St. Mary’s, Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital, Blythesdale Children’s Hospital, Sloan Kettering Childrens Ward, AdvantageCare Physicians and many more. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I have had. I really can’t wait till the world opens back up and I’m able to continue doing this again.
At the end of the day I still believe I owe it all to that little girl that changed my life. The way I see it is her infectious smile has been passed and lives on through so many more children. If this was all I get blessed with in life, this was more than enough. Thank you for everything Tessa.
If you would like to donate to Love Team Tessa, you can donate here: https://loveteamtessa.org/
The most beautiful thing in life is to see a child smile.
The next best thing is to know that you are the reason behind that smile.-Unknown
Here is a small sneak peek of some of my experiences.