BALTIMORE- The movie, A League of Their Own, the T.V. show Supermarket Sweep, and the song “Who Let the Dogs Out?” are all on Josh’s top ten list. This bright 14-year-old also enjoys playing with his dog, cat and pet frog, listening to Sisqo, watching Baltimore Ravens football and dining on crab. By most accounts, Josh is a typical, outgoing teenager. Unfortunately, he has a condition that is far from typical. Josh suffers from Gauchers disease, a rare lipid disorder that prevents his body from breaking down fat and forces it to collect in and damage his major organs. He lives with severe dietary restrictions and must endure weekly enzyme infusions administered by a nurse. “He hurts a lot, but it doesn’t stop him. He just keeps going,” said his grandmother, Josephine.
So when Wish Coordinator Terri McConn of Kids Wish Network heard about Josh and his wish to go to Disney World, she jumped into action planning a fun in the sun vacation for him. Not only would Josh and his 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, Josh and his family ate at the resort’s whimsical restaurants, like the Gingerbread House Restaurant and the Ice Cream Parlor, and got to meet Mayor Clayton, the village mascot. 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. “It was fantastic. We were very impressed with the village,” said Josephine.
During their vacation, the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. Although Josh’s condition causes him to fatigue easily, he made sure to experience the roller coasters. “He went on every single one that we could find,” said Josephine. All attractions were compliments of Give Kids the World and Kids Wish Network.
Although he deals daily with a painful condition of his own, Josephine said Josh felt a great deal of compassion toward the other kids he met at Give Kids the World. She said that the whole trip was a wonderful experience. “We all enjoyed it and are very thankful that Josh got his wish.” No matter what challenges this young boy may face in the future, he and his family will always be able to look back to a time in their memories when 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.