BLOOMINGDON – Dustin is a rambunctious 5-year-old who loves to eat hot dogs, sing Christmas songs and watch Scooby Doo on television. But just like Dustin’s favorite mystery cartoon, his life is full of questions that are difficult for even his parents to solve – he has cystic fibrosis. To maintain his health, Dustin must use a feeding machine to receive nutrients, undergo chest therapy with the use of a special vest, receive mist treatments and take several medications.
When Wish Coordinator Terri McConn of Kids Wish Network was contacted about Dustin’s wish to visit Walt Disney World, she quickly put together a wish that she knew he would absolutely love. She would be sending his family on a vacation to Florida to experience the fun of its many amusement parks, and to share special moments at Give Kids the World in Kissimmee, a magical resort full of laughter, joy and hugs, catering to the unique needs of families who have children with life threatening illnesses.
Once at Give Kids the World, Dustin and his family ate at the resort’s whimsical restaurants and took part in all the fun-filled activities offered to all of its guests. “They treated us special, as if we were their top priority,” said his father Doug. “My most memorable moment was getting our family’s picture taken with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in front of the village’s castle.” The family also has a daughter diagnosed with cystic fibrosis who went to Give Kids the World years ago. Doug said, “Dustin chose his wish after hearing all about it from his sister – he just had to experience it. It is a very special place for us, as we now have stars with both of our kids’ names hanging in the village’s Castle of Miracles.”
During their vacation the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Sea World, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Dustin most enjoyed the Jurassic Park ride at Islands of Adventure, especially when a staffer told him he could ride it as many times as he wished. All attractions were compliments of Kids Wish Network and Give Kids the World. American Airlines provided roundtrip airfare for Dustin and his family.
While Dustin will still have to face the uncertain challenges of battling his illness, his family will always cherish the happiness they shared together, when everything was absolutely perfect – in “Dustin’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 a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of their wish granting services, please call (813)891-9374 or toll free at (888)918-9004. You can also visit its web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.