ROCKY MOUNT – Shaquille, age 6, of Rocky Mount, Virginia, loves basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, painting, eating macaroni and cheese and especially The Rugrats. While Shaquille is a happy and outgoing child, life can be pretty complicated for a first-grader who must be given medication every 12 hours. Shaquille has Immune System Breakdown.
In need of a special dose of happiness, Wish CoordinatorTerri McConn of Kids Wish Network was contacted about Shaquille and his wish to visit Disney World. Like Tommy of the Rugrats, she thought, “a wish coordinator’s got to do what a wish coordinator’s got to do,” and took his wish a step further. In addition to Shaquille experiencing the thrill of the amusements parks, he and his family would soon be sharing special moments at Give Kids the World in Kissimmee, Florida, a magical resort full of laughter, joy and hugs, catering to the unique needs of families who have children with life threatening illnesses.
At Give Kids the World, the family experienced its special activities, whimsical ice cream parlor, game arcade and the resort’s unusual and fun restaurants. “Macaroni and cheese is always Shaquille’s favorite, and he got to have it every night for dinner – he even had seconds!” said Carolyn, Shaquille’s grandmother. “Give Kids the World was a beautiful place, all of the people were so nice. You never saw anyone without a smile on their face.”
During their vacation, the family enjoyed many Orlando attractions, visiting Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World. Shaquille was especially thrilled to meet all of his favorite characters. Shaquille said, “I liked meeting Angelica (from the Rugrats) and Mickey and Goofy gave me an autograph!” All attractions were compliments of Give Kids the World and Kids Wish Network. American Airlines provided round trip airfare for Shaquille and his entire family.
While Shaquille will continue to experience the burdens of his illness, his family will always remember the wondrous gift they shared together, when everything was absolutely perfect – in “Shaquille’s World.”
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.