Overcoming obstacles is nothing new for Katy Zlatniski.
Eleven years ago, when her mother was pregnant with her,she was diagnosed with cystic hygroma, a birth defect in which sacs of fluid can develop while in the womb. For Katy, this occurred in her lymphatic system and she was a critical airway patient for the first three years of her life.
Despite the early health scare and a more recent diagnosis of an autoimmune disease affecting her thyroid gland, Katy has met the challenges in her life with a smile.
Her perseverance has caught the eye of her neighbors in Mattituck. In particular, the group Kait’s Angels, a nonprofit known for bestowing acts of kindness on local residents who could use some help, found a unique way to celebrate her. The group is sponsoring a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida for the youngster.
‘We never would have been able to do this for her if it wasn’t for them.’Trisha Zlatniski
The money for the trip came from a 50/50 raffle the nonprofit held during their July 16 live music benefit with That Motown Band at the North Fork Roadhouse. Katy will be visiting the theme park with her family in March 2022.
Katy, who attends Cutchogue East Elementary School, had celebrated her 11th birthday last year by watching “Harry Potter” and surrounded by butterbeer, popcorn and her closest friends.
Kait’s Angels, established in 2014 after the tragic death of local college student Kaitlyn Doorhy, organizes various fundraising events throughout the year to help members of the community.
“I just thought it was nice to do something happy for a change,” said Kait’s Angels board member Darla Doorhy, Kaitlyn’s mom.
Hashimoto’s Graves disease, the more recent ailment Katy has had to battle, causes an inflammation of the thyroid and results in leaked excess thyroid hormones, according to Mayo Clinic.
Despite the difficulties Katy has faced, her mother, Trisha Zlatniski, says it hasn’t fazed her at all.
“Honestly she’s walked this really rough road and she never got the memo, she’s just bright and sunny.” Ms. Zlatniski said.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a theme park in Universal Studios that is based on J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series of books, which have become a worldwide phenomenon.
Katy’s interest in Harry Potter has exploded the past three years, according to Ms. Zlatniski.
The theme park immerses visitors in the “Harry Potter” universe, taking them through locations from the series, such as the streets of Diagon Alley and the village of Hogsmeade, as well as through Hogwarts castle.
Ms. Doorhy said that Kait’s Angels wanted to do something for Katy two years ago, but Ms. Zlatniski graciously declined. The mom said she always felt there was someone else who needed the help more. But since this year was especially difficult, she thought this was a good time and accepted the help from the organization.
This trip means a lot to Katy, her mother said, and she’s grateful to Kait’s Angels for the opportunity.
“We never would have been able to do this for her if it wasn’t for them,” Ms. Zlatniski said. “I couldn’t say enough wonderful things; this just means so much to her.”