Like most 11-year-olds, Christopher loves action-adventure. The movie “Blade II” and Playstation 2 video games involving James Bond are favorites. Christopher has a younger sister to share Cartoon Network adventures with, and three big dogs and two cats to keep him busy. He is also a huge skateboarding enthusiast.
Unfortunately, he can only watch his favorite sport from a wheelchair. Christopher has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a debilitating and rapidly progressive disease causing muscle deterioration and weakness throughout the body. The sixth grader was diagnosed with the disease in 1997 and became wheelchair-bound last year.
When Kids Wish Network heard Chris’ story, they decided to give him a wish that would pull him off the sidelines and into the epicenter of all the action. Kids Wish Network recently sent Chris and his family to “Give Kids the World Village,” a special Kissimmee, Fla.-based resort catering to the needs of children who suffer from life-threatening illnesses. Chris and his family spent seven days in Kissimmee where they visited Disney World, MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, Epcot Center, Sea World and Islands of Adventure.
“It was awesome,” said Christopher’s mother Kim. “My husband and I were thrilled to see him out there having a great time. Christopher stopped walking in August and sometimes he gets bored because he can’t do what other kids do. So to see him out there buzzing around in his electric wheelchair having a great time was wonderful and unbelievable.”
Christopher went on every ride he was tall enough for, but he said the Aerosmith-themed roller coaster at MGM Studios was the biggest highlight of the trip. “It had lots of loops and twists, and went really fast,” Christopher said.
Kim said she was thankful to take Christopher on the trip now. Due to Chris’ condition he will likely experience more muscle deterioration, which will make going on thrill rides extremely difficult. “We really liked that we could get him on them now,” Kim said. “It’s important for us do these things while we still can.”
Christopher’s parents heard about Kids Wish Network from the mother of another wish child, who also suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Once the family connected with the organization, wish coordinator Luisa Frederiksen worked diligently and swiftly to pull Christopher’s wish together.
Kim had high praise for Kids Wish Network, and Fredriksen in particular. “Luisa was great,” Kim said. “She made it all very easy. It was really wonderful.”
Special thanks to Verizon Wireless for sponsoring this wish and many others.
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 a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of their wish granting services, please call (813) 891-9374 or toll free at (888) 918-9004. You can also visit its web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.