ELLICOTT CITY- Phillip loves the rock band KISS, the television show Full House, and the movie Dirty Dancing. This shy 16-year-old also enjoys spending time with his two dogs, watching soccer and cheering on the Baltimore Ravens football team. Unfortunately, watching these sports is the closest Phillip will ever get to them. He suffers from a rare disorder, mucopolysaccharidosis, which causes mental retardation, skeletal disorders and forces Phillip to be confined to a wheelchair. But through it all, his father, Robert, describes him as an angel. “He’s just the sweetest kid.”
When Wish Coordinator Terri McConn of Kids Wish Network heard about Phillip and his wish to meet Mickey Mouse, she quickly got Zbest Limousines, Inc. to chauffeur his entire family to the airport for a trip to the home of the world famous mouse. Not only would Phillip 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. “How we were treated and what we saw was so overwhelming. I wish I could put into words the love and generosity we felt there,” said Robert.
While at Give Kids the World, Phillip and his family ate at the resort’s whimsical restaurants, like the Gingerbread House Restaurant and took part in all the fun-filled activities offered to its special guests. Robert said Phillip really loved when the characters from Disney and Universal came to visit the kids at the village. “He really liked Barney and the clowns,” he said. After his mother gave Goofy a kiss, Phillip would smile and say, “Mommy’s boyfriend is Goofy.”
During their vacation, the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. Phillip’s favorite part was sitting on the bus for the Safari ride at the Animal Kingdom. “The personnel at the parks was so attentive to the kids from Give Kids the World,” said Robert. “If they noticed there was no usher with us, they would rush right over to help.” All attractions were compliments of Give Kids the World and Kids Wish Network.
“It was a great trip with lots of wonderful memories,” said Phillip’s older brother, Sean. “Everyone needs an escape some time and Phillip has to endure such a harsh reality; it was like suspending the real world for him,” he said. “It was one week without troubles that helped to strengthen us as a family unit. Phillip got to forget about his disability; if there is a heaven, he got a piece of it there.”
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.