JACKSONVILLE – Travis is an intelligent and loving 9-year-old who loves Pokemon, the rock band Metallica, and watching baseball. And like most boys, he enjoys computer games and action movies. But he spends most of his time with his best friend, Preston. Travis relies on his special pal to open doors, turn on lights and even pull his wheelchair. Preston is Travis’ service dog. Young Travis needs this assistance because he suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, called oxidative phospheration. His condition prevents his body from drawing energy from food, and causes severe muscle breakdown and weakness.
When Wish Coordinator Madeline Robinson of Kids Wish Network was contacted about this special boy and his only wish for a handicap accessible clubhouse, fashioned after a cabin for his backyard, she quickly jumped into action to give Travis the clubhouse of his dreams. “He’s always wanted a place to go to be by himself, to have some alone time away from his brother and sister,” said his mother, Angelia. To give him the privacy he’s always wanted, Madeline was able to get an architect to donate the designs for Travis’ cabin. Then she made a well-placed call to HabiJax, the Jacksonville affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, International. The mission of HabiJax is to eliminate poverty and sub-standard housing conditions in Duval County. Sasha Kutsy, Program Coordinator and the HabiJax AmeriCorps members generously agreed to join the project head on, donating both the supplies and the construction of Travis’ playhouse.
It took approximately a month, with a five-man crew working eight hours a day, to create Travis’ wish. And when it was finished it had more amenities than any boy could have ever dreamed! The new private retreat came complete with electricity, running water, air conditioning, furniture, and his very own porch swing. For the housewarming dedication, they even adorned the outside of his clubhouse with Christmas decorations. “I like it all!” said Travis. And he has already made a few rules for his clubhouse: his little brother must keep out and absolutely no girls are allowed!
“I just can’t believe all of this,” said his mother Angelia. “It is just so overwhelming, seeing him so tickled. Just seeing him so happy is the greatest gift for me.” Now whenever Travis needs to getaway and enjoy some alone time, all he has to do is travel as far away as his backyard, go up the ramp, and shut out all the cares in his world.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank all of its gracious sponsors who helped make Travis’ dream come true: AKEL Logan and Shafer PA, Hughes Supply, Inc., Kinco LTD, Carolina Lumber, Granger Lumber-Hardware, Inc., Carpet Depot, Destiny Electric, Seacoast Supply, APSCO, Delux Paint Centers, Resource Materials Corporation, and Publix. And of course our heartfelt thanks to Habijax, without which, none of this would have been 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.