Valparaiso, IN – Ten-year-old Jacob of Valparaiso is a bright and lively little boy with a mischievous grin. Jacob can most often be found playing games on his Wii or playing basketball. In fact, basketball is his all-time favorite sport and he’s crazy about the Chicago Bulls! In many ways, Jacob is a typical fourth grader; there is something however, that makes him unique from his peers: Jacob struggles daily with a very serious life-threatening illness known as cystinosis.
Cystinosis is a metabolic condition that causes an amino acid called cystine to accumulate in different organs of the body. These cystine crystals build up in the kidneys, eyes, liver, muscles, pancreas, brain and white blood cells and begin to slowly damage them. Jacob’s kidneys are being damaged by the disease and he must be monitored very carefully by his doctors. He requires a g-tube at night and must be careful to stay hydrated at all times.
If there’s one thing that can take a kid’s mind off of anything it’s a trip to Disney World. That’s exactly where Jacob decided he wanted to go for his wish through Kids Wish Network, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. Jacob was referred to the charity by a relative.
Jacob’s Kids Wish Network Wish Coordinator, Jessica, made all of the arrangements. She arranged for Jacob and his family to fly to Orlando and booked hotel accomodations for them at the beautiful Radisson Resort Parkway. Jessica also secured theme park tickets, dinners, spending money and more. In the meantime, Kids Wish Network Wish Funding Specialist, Tanya, secured donations from generous members of Jacob’s community who wanted to help.
During his special time in Florida, Jacob took full of advantage of his busy itinerary. He hit just about every park in the Orlando area including Sea World, Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, Universal, Islands of Adventure, Epcot, and of course, the Magic Kingdom where he got to hang out with some of his favorite Disney characters in person.
Jacob returned home from his whirlwind adventure tired, but with plenty of pictures and even more amazing memories. He also brought back with him a special lesson: Jacob learned that sometimes dreams really do come
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Jacob’s wish extra special: Eagles – Hobart, Eagles of Valparaiso, Longhorn Steakhouse, Masonic Lodge – Crown Point, Masonic Lodge – Valparaiso, Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater, Pizza Hut, Radisson Resort Parkway, VFW Porter Lodge #2511 and Wonderworks.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at www.kidswishnetwork.org