TAMPA – Luke, age 6, of Tampa, loves the movie Godzilla, playing with his Buzz Lightyear and Woody dolls and his only pet, a goldfish named Pumpkin. Luke is bubbly and witty, a pure joy to those around him. Sadly, just like his favorite film, Luke has his own Godzilla in his life that threatens his health. Luke has neuroblastoma, a type of cancer made up of cells from tissues in the womb. He has a port, must use hearing aids, and requires schooling through Hillsborough County’s Homebound program.
Luke was in need of a special dose of happiness, so when Wish Coordinator Terri McConn of Kids Wish Network was contacted about his wish to meet Mickey Mouse in Disney World, she went “to infinity and beyond” and came up with a wish that he would absolutely love. Not only would Luke meet Mickey, but he would soon be staying with his family at Give Kids the World in Orlando, a magical resort full of laughter, joy and hugs, catering to the unique needs of families who have children with life threatening illnesses.
While at Give Kids the World, Luke and his family ate at the resort’s Gingerbread Restaurant, indulged in sweet treats at its whimsical Ice Cream Palace and took part in many of the fun-filled family activities. The resort even made bedtime special, having Mayor Clayton, its loveable rabbit character, tuck Luke in bed each night.
During their vacation, the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting all of the Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. All attractions were compliments of Kids Wish Network and Give Kids the World. Lana, Luke’s mother said, “At Animal Kingdom we went to a show called Tarzan Rocks, and they must have seen Luke’s special button (given to all Give Kids the World children to receive preferential treatment at the theme parks), because he was picked to be the King of the Jungle. He got in front of everyone and gave his best Tarzan yell!” Luke especially enjoyed the VIP tour of Nickelodeon Studios at Universal, when he “got slimed” by the infamous green goop, that Luke described as a mixture of “green apple sauce and stuff.” His father Kevin said, “For Luke it was a dream come true!”
His mother most enjoyed “watching Luke” as he experienced complete happiness throughout his entire wish. For once he didn’t have to worry about his health and could enjoy being a carefree kid. No matter what challenges the future holds for Luke, his family will always remember the wondrous gift, when for an entire week, everything was absolutely perfect – in “Luke’s World.”
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses. If you know of a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of Kids Wish Network’s wish granting services, please call (813) 891-9374 or toll free at (888) 918-9004. You can also visit Kids Wish Network’s web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.