STRATFORD- Just like a lot of young girls, Earnestine loves The Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley. This sweet natured 8-year-old’s favorites also include stuffed animals, playing computer checkers, watching the show Full House. But more than anything, she just loves to play. Unfortunately, this can be extremely difficult for Earnestine because she is confined to a wheelchair. She suffers from spina bifida, a condition that prevents the spine from closing completely, in addition to hydrocephalus, which causes excess fluid in the brain. But despite her ailments, Earnestine is always up beat and cheerful.
So when Wish Coordinator Kara Stecker of Kids Wish Network heard about Earnestine and her wish to go to Disney World for some fun in the sun, Kara quickly got her an invitation to the ultimate place to play. Not only would Earnestine and her family get to enjoy Disney and other exciting Orlando amusement parks, they would soon be sharing special moments at Give Kids the World in Orlando, Florida, a magical resort full of laughter, joy and hugs, catering to the special needs of families who have children with life threatening illnesses.
While at Give Kids the World, Earnestine and her family ate at the resort’s whimsical restaurants, like the Gingerbread House Restaurant and the Ice Cream Parlor with its graham cracker roof. They also took part in all the fun-filled activities offered to all of its special guests, like the train that takes guests around the park and the Safari Theatre that shows family classics. “The Ice Cream Parlor was Earnestine’s favorite part of the village. It’s like an amusement park itself,” said her mother, Penny.
During their vacation, the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. Earnestine’s favorite things were seeing all the whales and sitting in the audience during the Shamu show at Sea World. “We were in the first row and I got soaked! I even got some of the water in my mouth,” she said. All attractions were compliments of Give Kids the World and Kids Wish Network.
“It was the best time we’ve ever had,” said her mother about the trip. “We took 153 pictures and two videos of it all.” No matter what challenges this young lady may face in the future, she and her family will always be able to look back to a time in their memories where everything was perfect and dreams came true.
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.