WEST POINT- Alisha is only five-years-old, but is dealing with something most adults couldn’t shoulder. At the age of two, she was diagnosed with a tumor on her brain stem. To make matters worse, the location makes it inoperable. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments, both of which did nothing to shrink the growth. Currently, her doctors have her off all medication and are limiting her activities because her condition causes low bone density and they are fearful of bone breaks. “Her whole left side is weak so she can’t run either,” said her mother, Christina. “But she is so witty and outgoing that even though she knows she can’t do as much as other kids, she still keeps trying.”
Alisha had been spending a lot of her time at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for treatment. Upon getting to know this little girl and her situation, the staff referred her to Kids Wish Network, a charity that grants wishes for children with life threatening illnesses. Soon Wish Coordinator Jayme Paus arranged Alisha’s dream trip to Disney World. “She watches Nickelodeon a lot and sees the commercials with all the rides and kids, so she wanted to go there,” said Christina about why Alisha chose the magical destination. Not only would she and her family get to enjoy Disney and other exciting Orlando amusement parks, but Jayme 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.
Once at the village, Alisha took in all of its unique activities. “She liked the whole place,” said Christina. “But I think her favorite was the all day ice cream parlor and riding on the carousel.” Alisha even made friends with the park’s rabbit mascot, Mayor Clayton as well as the rest of the staff at the Gingerbread House restaurant. “All the staff was so wonderful to her, they were always right there whenever she needed anything,” Christina said.
Each day that they left the village though, the entire family visited one of Orlando’s many amusement parks like Sea World, Universal Studios, and all of Disney World. It was hard to choose one, but out of all of them Alisha loved the Magic Kingdom the best. “When we arrived there was a parade going on, she really liked that,” Christina said. She preferred the teacups over all the other rides she went on and her absolute favorite character was the wizard, Merlin. “She thought he was great and he gave her a free autograph book,” Christina said.
As for the whole trip, according to Christina, the entire family loved it. “It was great,” she said. “Alisha had a wonderful time, we all did.” She also said that she couldn’t thank Kids Wish Network enough for everything that they did for her daughter and her whole family. “It was a great chance for me to spend time with my kids and I enjoyed it all.”
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.