COLUMBUS- Youth is a time to be careless and carefree. And at seven-years-old, that’s the way little Zalon’s world should be. Unfortunately, his life is full of doctor’s visits and uncertainty. This sweet young boy suffers from severe developmental delays and a seizure disorder. While his communication with teachers and family is approximately that of a three-year-old, he is unable to talk and is also confined to a wheelchair. Even with all these difficulties, his mother Ranae says that Zalon understands enough to enjoy listening to Gospel music, watching the Little Rascals, and cheering on the Atlanta Braves. “He’s usually a pretty happy child,” she said.
So when Wish Coordinator Terri McConn of Kids Wish Network heard about Zalon and his wish to go to Disney World and be around lots of other kids, Terri quickly got him an invitation for a play date. Not only would Zalon 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 such a great place,” Ranae said.
While at Give Kids the World, Zalon and his family ate at the resort’s whimsical restaurants and he absolutely loved riding the carousel. He even made new friends with some of the other children at the village. “There was a little girl that loved Zalon and came to breakfast at the same time we did,” Ranae said. “She would always talk to him and say hello, and he would start blushing and get excited.”
During their vacation, the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. He liked all of the parks, but Universal Studios was his favorite. “He got to see Barney there and watch his show,” his mother said. “He was so tickled when he met him that we had to calm him down.” All attractions were compliments of Give Kids the World and Kids Wish Network.
“It was a great place for him to be,” said Ranae about the trip. “We are still trying to recuperate because Zalon was always ready to go; he wore us out.” No matter how tired they were from all the weeks’ activities, Ranae said they would miss Florida and all the fun they had. “We really needed that trip,” she said. “We just didn’t want to leave and come home, that’s how good it was.”
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.