By Joel Hillan

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado family that has seen their share of pain is getting ready to spread love and raise money during the 2nd Annual Walk for Wishes. The fundraiser helps future wishes come true.

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(credit: Burkett family)

Marlee Burkett was born with a chronic liver condition, one that would require surgery at just 8 weeks old and then a full transplant when she was 11 years old.

“She was a Make-A-Wish kid, and her wish was to go to Disney World,” said Marlee’s father, Lance.

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(credit: Burkett family)

While they were in the hospital for the transplant, Make-A-Wish made contact.

“It was amazing, I couldn’t ask for a better trip. It was so much fun and loved how they were with us every step of the way,” said Marlee.

“It would really bring Marlee out of a dark place, and it would bring all of us out a dark place because we had some hope to look forward to,” said Lance.

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CBS4’s Joel Hillan interviews Marlee and Lance Burkett. (credit: CBS)

The trip was a highlight in what would be a tough few years for Marlee as her body got adjusted to her new liver.

“And now today, she’s a brand new kid,” said Lance.

“I like not having to be home and be in the hospital constantly. I like being a normal kid now,” said Marlee, who is now a Junior at Mountain Vista High School and manager of the varsity football team.

She wants to be a nurse when she grows up, working with kids. And she wants to give back to Make-A-Wish.

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Marlee Burkett (credit: CBS)

“I couldn’t imagine not giving back to Make-A-Wish because they did so much for me when I was younger,” she said.

“It not only helps kids, it helps families, and it comes back to that word hope. It gives people hope,” said Lance.

Hope just like Marlee’s parents gave her.

“Thank you very much for everything you have done and I couldn’t ask for better parents.”

The 2nd annual Walk for Wishes & 5K Run will be held at Hudson Gardens Sunday, emceed by CBS4 Meteorologist Dave Aguilera.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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