Rochester, MI- A sweet, young girl suffering from hydrocephalus and epilepsy enjoyed a spectacular Disney adventure, thanks to a little “guardian angel” magic from Kids Wish Network.
Nine-year-old Caitlyn was diagnosed with hydrocephalus before she was even born. The condition describes an abundance of spinal fluid that had accumulated in Caitlyn’s brain. In infancy, she had to endure surgery to implant a shunt to draw the fluid out of the brain and carry it elsewhere within the body where it will be reabsorbed into the blood stream. Additional surgeries were performed to correct problems with her skull that were caused by the swelling and intracranial pressure.
Caitlyn then developed epilepsy at 18 months of age, and doctors have systematically tried a multitude of anti-epileptic drugs over the years in an effort to control her seizures. As with many children who suffer from seizures, none of the medications have been able to completely control them.
Caitlyn’s mom, Heather, was informed by a coworker about Kids Wish Network, a charitable organization that grants wishes to children who are afflicted with life-threatening illnesses. Heather was able to nominate her own deserving daughter for a wish, and soon, Caitlyn was assigned her very own wish coordinator, Vanessa, who set out to turn her wish into a reality.
When asked what she would want more than anything in the world, Caitlyn wished to visit Mickey Mouse and his friends at Disney World. Thanks to Wish Funding Specialist, Donna, who enlisted the help of some very special sponsors, Caitlyn was able to meet Mickey and so much more!
Vanessa arranged some relaxation and bonding time for the family during their time in Florida. Due to Caitlyn’s medical condition, her doctors advised against air travel so Vanessa arranged for a leisurely trip by car from Caitlyn’s home in Michigan to Disney World in Florida. Along the way, Caitlyn really enjoyed a side-trip to the gulf shores of Cocoa Beach, where she was able to stroll along barefoot on the beach before continuing on her journey to Orlando.
Caitlyn was alight with joy and excitement once the family arrived at their destination. One of Caitlyn’s fondest memories at Disney World was a makeover at the Bibbidy Bobbity Boutique, a salon that treats children of any age to pampering fit for a princess – a Disney princess! All made up with an ethereal hairdo and fairy-dusted nails, Caitlyn ventured out into the Magic Kingdom where she loved posing for pictures with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and the Cat in the Hat.
According to Heather, the family was made to feel very welcome and enjoyed their accommodations at the Royal Plaza Hotel. Caitlyn, who loves the water, had a blast in both their room’s whirlpool tub and in the hotel’s heated pool. She also delighted in the shows that had been arranged for her, such as the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure.
The magic of Disney did a world of good for this delightful young girl and her family, as their time away from home was a reprieve from worry over Caitlyn’s medical condition. It was a time to just let Caitlyn be her vivacious, energetic eight-year-old self.
“I guess it would to be hard to describe the incredibleness of other people’s generosity and Kids Wish Network in being able to provide this to our family and to make Caitlyn’s wish come true. I don’t think most words could begin to describe this experience for our family and our thankfulness for this opportunity.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Caitlyn’s wish extra special: Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater, Compassion Partners, Royal Plaza Hotel, WonderWorks, Paw Paw Lions Club, VFW Post # 6248, VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Wal-Mart and Welch’s.