HENDERSONVILLE-Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, gymnastics, The Parent Trap, and her bunny, Bugsey are all things that make 10-year-old Danielle smile. This very talkative and outgoing young lady has many good friends that she has a lot in common with. However there is one difference between Danielle and her peers; she suffers from cystic fibrosis. Danielle must endure nebulizer treatments, use a therapy vest to break up the mucus in her lungs, and has to have physical therapy twice a day. “She doesn’t have too many lung problems right now, but she does have severe digestive problems,” said her mother, Kim. “It really depends on each moment how she feels.” And according to Kim, right now Danielle would prefer it if her friends didn’t even know about her condition.
But one thing Danielle has always been open about is her desire to go someplace far away. “She’s always wanted to go somewhere hot and go in a pool,” Kim said. “Most of the time it’s too cold in North Carolina for that.” So when Wish Coordinator Kara Stecker of Kids Wish Network heard about Danielle and her wish to travel to Florida and visit Disney World, Kara quickly went to work to provide this brave girl with some fun in the sun. Not only would Danielle 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. “Words can’t even describe what we saw when we first got there,” Kim said.
While at Give Kids the World, Danielle and her family enjoyed the resort’s whimsical restaurants and all of its special attractions. “She really enjoyed the entire village, especially riding the carousel and splashing in the Wacky Water Works,” her mother said. Danielle really liked meeting the Disney characters that come to visit the kids in the village and she was even tucked into bed by the park’s mascot, Mayor Clayton. While at the village, she even became friends with a girl from Pennsylvania and has kept up with her by email. “Her family has invited us all to come visit them,” Kim said.
During their vacation, the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. A highlight for Danielle came at Sea World when she got to pet and feed the dolphins. “The staff at all the parks was wonderful,” Kim said. All attractions were compliments of Give Kids the World and Kids Wish Network.
“Everyone there went out of his or her way to make sure she was having a good time,” her mom said about the family’s time at the village. “It wasn’t just a trip; it was a whole week devoted to making her happy.” No matter what the future may hold for young Danielle, she and her family can always remember a time when everything was perfect and anything seemed possible.
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.