CORYDON-Elizabeth is a lot like other 13-year-old girls. She enjoys listening to Britney Spears, watching movies, eating pizza, and spending time on the computer. But though she shares the same interests as her teenage friends, she has one major concern that sets her miles apart: her health. Since the age of two, Elizabeth has been plagued with a baffling form of myopathy for which doctors don’t even have a name. Over the years, as her condition has progressively gotten worse, she has grown weaker and communication has become more difficult for her. She is now confined to a wheelchair, wears leg braces, and requires help when she needs to move out of her wheelchair into another position. “She endures so much, but she is very loving and is always smiling,” said her mother, Deanna.
So when Wish Coordinator Kara Stecker of Kids Wish Network heard about Elizabeth and her wish to go to Disney World, Kara quickly got her an invitation for some fun in the sun. Not only would Elizabeth 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. “There was so much to do there, we couldn’t even do it all,” Deanna said.
While at Give Kids the World, Elizabeth and her family ate at the resort’s whimsical restaurants, like the all day Ice Cream Parlor with its graham cracker roof. But Deanna said that Elizabeth’s favorite moment came when there was a Christmas party held by the pool for all of the children and their families. “She got to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, and she was even able to swim in the warm Florida weather,” Deanna said. “It was a real treat for her.”
During their vacation, the family enjoyed a full Orlando experience, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. “Meeting all the characters made her so happy,” Deanna said. “That’s when I saw her smile the most.” And Elizabeth was especially taken with Snow White, who with her painted red lips gave her a big kiss on the cheek that lasted all day long. “Cinderella also gave her extra attention, visiting with her and calling her ‘Princess Elizabeth’”, Deanna said. “It made her feel so special.” All attractions were compliments of Give Kids the World and Kids Wish Network.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better thing to do for Elizabeth, it was wonderful,” Deanna said about the trip. Elizabeth has so many pictures to remember the trip by that her mother is afraid she might wear out her scrapbook by looking at it too much. “Seeing her so happy was my greatest memory of the entire experience,” she said. “She can’t do what she used to be able to do, so it is wonderful that she has so many memories to look back on.”
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.