Just three days before a scheduled family trip to Los Angeles, Wagga’s Benazir Ali found herself at the Sydney Children’s Hospital with more than just a long-awaited holiday at stake.
The nine-year-old, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012, was being closely monitored after her doctor feared she may relapse.
When tests gave her the all clear following a nerve-racking wait, Benazir and her family boarded their flight to Los Angeles for what proved to be the holiday of a lifetime.
The youngster soon found herself on the court at a LA Lakers game, high-fiving her favourite players as they emerged from the player’s race.
The special surprise fell into place after Benazir’s mother, Shaleen Ali, contacted Lakers management months in advance.
“I wasn’t very hopeful because I thought they must get thousands of emails every day,” she said.
“When they responded, I was expecting it to be a photo with the cheerleaders, but she got the full royal treatment.
Mrs Ali said her daughter would never forget the experience.
“It was so worth it, seeing that look on her face,” she said. “It really was something special, something money can’t buy.”