BILOXI-Nate is a very special four-year-old who considers his ‘daddy’ one of his best friends. And like so many other youngsters, he enjoys the simple things in life; spending time with his dog Brandy, watching the T.V. shows Scooby Doo and Blue’s Clues, and singing the “Three Little Fishies” song are just a few examples. However this adorable boy has problems that are far from simple, forcing him to deal with obstacles someone so young should never have to face. Nate was born with a severe heart condition called transposition of the great vessels: simply put, his two main blood vessels are in the opposite of normal positions. He underwent his first heart surgery when he was just 3 days old and even suffered a stroke during a later operation that affected the right side of his body. He must endure speech, physical, and occupational therapy, and rely on a wheelchair for mobility. “He falls a lot because he can’t move his leg much,” said Mary, his mother. “He can only walk for a little ways at a time.”
So when Wish Coordinator Terri McConn of Kids Wish Network heard about Nate and his wish to go to Disney World and meet Mickey Mouse, Terri quickly got him an invitation for the adventure of a lifetime. Not only would Nate 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. “It was wonderful,” Mary said. “We took eight rolls of film.”
While at Give Kids the World, Nate and his family ate at the resort’s whimsical restaurants and Nate made sure to take advantage of all the park’s fun activities. “He loved the train ride through the village,” Mary said. “He’s into trains right now and one night he rode their train 10 times!” Nate really liked the popular ice cream parlor that even serves the delicious frozen treats for breakfast. About the only thing Nate didn’t enjoy was the bunny mascot, Mayor Clayton. “He was a little scared of him; he keeps saying ‘No rabbits, mom,’” she said. “But he liked when all the Disney characters came to visit the village; Mickey and Goofy were his favorite.”
During their vacation, the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. Nate’s favorite part was the Toy Story ride at the Magic Kingdom. “He liked getting to shoot the fake gun at the targets just like Buzz Lightyear,” Mary said. All attractions were compliments of Give Kids the World and Kids Wish Network.
“He enjoyed himself so much,” said Mary about their trip. “He even wanted to buy everything he saw as a souvenir for his PaPa, his other best friend.” Mary said everyone at the village was incredible. “They were all so nice, both of my kids enjoyed it. It just really made our day getting to see Nate enjoy himself like that.”
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.