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I hope you all don’t mind but I thought I’d take the opportunity today to write Ashley’s niece, Reid Layne, a letter in honour of her incredible journey and recovery from heart surgery last week.

Dear Reid,

Salutations! As my dear friend Charlotte would say.

I’ve been following your story for a while now and I feel that, after you’ve blown us away with your incredible strength and gusto for life, now would be an excellent time to write you a letter.

My letter centers around the idea of time travel melded with something wonderful. What is it you ask? Why, it’s magic.

The year is 2023. It’s December break at school and you’ve just turned eleven. A letter arrives for you that contains the following:

Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry

Dear Ms. McCallan,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been invited on a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

The trip begins December …… . We await your owl by no later than… tomorrow.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall

(On behalf of Hufflepuff, Ashley McCallan and Gryffindor, Keely Kwok)


Hogwarts Castle

Hogwarts Castle

That’s right kiddo, we’re going to the most magical place outside of Disney World. I have full confidence that your Aunt Ashley will give you and your brother these books before you’ve learned the alphabet so I’m hoping you’re at least on Prisoner of Azkaban. I mean, it’s been eleven years. So really… (Oh, before I forget. When you watch the movie Prisoner of Azkaban, don’t mind Dan’s outburst “HE WAS THEIR FRIEND!” – he gets much better.)

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes. We’re going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! After inspecting the infamous Hogwarts Express, we’ll stop and get some butterbeer at either Three Broomsticks or the Hog’s Head. (Don’t worry, it’s just cream soda.) You and Noal can decide. Or we can do both. Hey, we’ve got nothing but time!

We’ll mosey on over to Ollivader’s to have our wands choose us and then we’ll get sorted. I can already tell you’re going to be in Gryffindor, house of the brave. Because let me tell ya, you are one of the most lionhearted people I know. The hurdles you’ve had to overcome… I’m simultaneously speechless, in awe, and utterly inspired. You’ve brought some magic into a world that is constantly in need of it and you and your family have shown the rest of us what true strength really is. Firenze would love to look at you because Reid, you are a star. Well done.

After meandering down to Hagrid’s Hut and riding the rollar coasters, we’ll browse Zonko’s, and finally, explore the magical castle itself. I sincerely hope we do not get stuck on a moving staircase because I am terrified of heights.

If I’ve left anything out, don’t be shy! There’s lots of room left on the itinerary. I cannot wait to see who you’ve become when we take this trip.

I solemnly swear I’m up to no good,

If you’d like to know more about Reid’s story check out her awesome mom Tara’s blog, Happy Soul Project.

Have an inspired week and follow us @WeArtsy