GAUTIER-Sarah is a pretty little 6-year-old with bright blonde hair and a big, toothy smile. Her beautiful outward appearance is deceiving, though, because this little girl is in the middle of an ugly inner struggle with cystic fibrosis. She is required to take six medications daily, undergo nebulizer treatments 3 times a day, and endure uncomfortable chest treatments with a special vest at least twice a day. For the worst of her attacks, she must even be admitted to the hospital for IV therapy.
To make matters worse, her older sister Danielle is also afflicted with this illness. However tough her days are, her mother Christy said that Sarah has a surprisingly wonderful sense of humor and that the entire family strives to stay optimistic. “Sarah tries to make light of bad situations instead of being negative,” said Christy. Both of her daughters understand their condition and know that it could get worse. “They both know they must take care of themselves. But we stay focused on the positive; we want them to live life, not wait to die.”
So after her daughter Danielle had her wish of a tree house granted by Kids Wish Network, Christy once again contacted the charity about her youngest daughter’s dream of meeting Mickey Mouse. Soon Wish Coordinator Madeline Robinson had a magical vacation planned for Sarah to Disney World. Not only would she and her family get to enjoy Disney and other exciting Orlando amusement parks, but Madeline also had a reservation for them at Give Kids the World, a special resort catering to the needs of children who suffer with life threatening illnesses. “The village was so wonderful, we really had no trouble getting the girls to leave the parks at the end of the day because there was so much to do there,” Christy said. “It had around the clock ice cream and Sarah loved all the swimming.”
Once Sarah and her family left the village, it was off to one of Orlando’s many amusement parks. “We did everything possible,” said Christy. “We wanted to say that we set foot in every single park.” During their weeklong adventure, they toured Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom, Epcot, MGM Studios, Sea World, and Universal Studios. “Sarah really liked the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and getting to meet all of the characters, like Mickey Mouse, the most,” Christy said. “It was great that the button she wore let her go through special entrances and get special treatment like not waiting in line. The girls’ condition can make it hard on them in the heat; I didn’t realize how exhausting the week would be on them. It was wonderful how they were treated.”
A special memory for Christy was at a dinner show at Medieval Times when two of the knights threw a flower to both of her daughters. “They really liked that,” she said. But she also said it was comical just watching her headstrong daughter Sarah on the whole trip. “She just loved that it was her wish and that she was able to direct the family for that week,” said Christy. “When we got home, we had to remind her that it was back to normal again, that she wasn’t in charge.” Now no matter what’s in this little girl’s future, she’ll always have a memory of when things went just the way she wished and all her dreams came true.
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.