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Bringing Scotland to Akron: Surprise of a lifetime for Make-A-Wish child

Posted at 11:57 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 00:07:55-04

AKRON, N.Y. (WKBW) — Scotland in Akron. That was the sight behind Madisyn Ross' home Saturday morning.

"They put the biggest surprise on my face," she said. Madisyn has a critical heart defect and is a Make-A-Wish child. Her dream is to go to Scotland -- a place both part of her heritage and also where her sister, Maison, was studying abroad. The Ross family was set to go this week, but travel bans due to COVID-19 put her wish on hold.

Her wish granters, Kathy Opalack and Corinne Fiegl, surprised not only Madisyn but her entire family with the Erie County Sheriff's Pipes and Drums.

"Every time I think about it, it just brings a huge smile to my face," Madisyn's mom, Debbie, said over a video interview.

Opalack and Fiegl were distraught over postponing the trip.

"They become our family. The wish families become our family," Opalack said.

The two knew they wanted to do something to keep Madisyn’s spirits up. After hearing about a member of the Erie County Sheriff’s Pipes and Drums playing bagpipes for the neighborhood, they enlisted their help.

“Thinking about it makes me tear up. Tears of joy. To see that we could bring her that happiness especially now," Opalack said.

Fiegl added: “I looked up in my rear view mirror and there’s like 10-15 cars driving down an otherwise empty road and I just got chills and I was like the cavalry has arrived, they’re here.“

The group played for the Ross family and neighbors in Akron and also brought Madisyn some mementos.

"It was just very uplifting," Debbie said.

While most wishes are postponed, Make-A-Wish WNY continues to grant what it can like gifts and some room makeovers. For wish kids like Madisyn who now wait, there’s no reason to stop the surprises.

"It’s something that I think every single person that was a witness to this event will carry it in their heart, forever," Opalack said.

When this is over, Madisyn said she hopes to hear those same bagpipes in Scotland.

“Fingers crossed!" she said with a smile.