Ten-year-old Longboat Key resident Kiley Cassis has been counting down the days until she turns 11. But this isn’t just a normal birthday — it’s her golden birthday. Kiley will turn 11 on Nov. 11 — 11/11/11.
“Every morning, I’m like, ‘There’s blah, blah, blah more days until my party!’” she says.
The celebration will start in the morning, when Kiley will bring in bagels, doughnuts and a cupcake cake to her school, Out-of-Door Academy. Once the school bell dismisses the students for the day, Kiley will be off to the ultimate birthday party, which her dad, Mark, has been planning. Eighteen of her friends from Out-of-Door Academy and the Sarasota Ballet, where she has danced for four years, will help her celebrate the big day at The Met Day Spa and Salon on St. Armands Circle. There, the girls will get manicures and pedicures and have their hair styled. Mark Cassis says he might join in on the fun, but he will probably stay out of the way. The birthday party crew will then go to dinner at Tommy Bahama, and include the friends’ parents.
“I’ve really been looking forward to it,” Kiley says.
Kiley doesn’t know it yet, but her dad will be surprising her on her big day with friends and family flying in to go to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios on Saturday.
Kiley’s birthday wish list is short: a dog and an iPhone.
“I really want a King Charles spaniel,” she says.
She’d also like to move from their condo into a house. But the most important present for the Cassis family is having each other.
Kiley’s mother, Kitty, died in February after a 16-month-long battle with cancer. Kiley’s birthday celebration is not only special because of the day on which it falls, but it was also a day Kitty Cassis would frequently bring up to her daughter.
“Her mom would always say, ‘You’re turning 11 on 11/11/11. How will we celebrate?’” Mark Cassis says. “There has been a lot of planning and thinking about this day over the years.”
A few of her favorite things
• Kiley Cassis has been dancing since she was 5 years old.
• Kiley has been playing piano for three years.
• “I like to go snorkeling with my dad when it’s really clear and quiet,” she says.
• She collects seashells.
• “My favorite class is art, because I love to draw. But I also like science and music, too,” she says.