Elgin, TX– A little girl with a bone growth disorder and a penchant for cooking has the birthday of a lifetime at The Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe in Orlando, Florida, courtesy of Kids Wish Network.
As eleven-year-old Shanice was wheeled into the room, her eyes lit up and surprise was written all over her face; there were balloons and streamers and the most perfect cake all for her! This was most definitely going to be her best birthday ever!
When Shanice was born, she was not allowed to leave the hospital for her first six months of life and was in the ICU unit for four of those months. For her whole first year, the tiny baby had to use oxygen to keep her going. At two years old, Shanice lost the use of her hands and in 2003 she lost feeling in her left side. At this point, she was diagnosed with spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia, Strudwick type, which is an inherited disorder of bone growth that results in dwarfism, characteristic skeletal abnormalities, and problems with vision. Shanice endures frequent bouts of pneumonia and has also had spinal surgery. Every day, she has to eat a special formula for extra nutrition and takes numerous medications. Shanice is wheelchair bound and has very little use of her hands.
After being referred to Kids Wish Network by an uncle who cared very much for her, Shanice was given her very own Wish Coordinator, named Jill. It was Jill who found out that Shanice longed to visit Disney World; she arranged to send Shanice there for her birthday, even weaving an amazing birthday surprise into the itinerary!
“It was a wonderful, wonderful trip,” said Shanice’s mother, Starleigh. At Disney World, Shanice just loved everything, especially the “Toy Story Mania!” ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where she racked up an awesome 400 points in a carnival midway styled atmosphere.
However great her time at the park was, Shanice was truly awed by her birthday party at The Wolfgang Puck Grand Café in Downtown Disney. According to her mother, “when she gets excited, she starts shaking.” Shanice was definitely shaking when she arrived at the Café. The Restaurant Manager, Matthew, was overjoyed to have Shanice in for her birthday and organized an unforgettable celebration: “We had her and her brothers and sister make their own pizzas for dinner. We got her an embroidered Wolfgang Puck apron, a talking Minnie Mouse doll, Minnie Mouse ears, and a Wolfgang Puck cookbook signed by the entire staff. Our pastry chef even made her a special birthday cake.” He even contacted Paula Deen (Shanice’s favorite cook) and her company, who sent Shanice some more birthday gifts! “She’ll never forget that birthday!” said Starleigh of of her daughter. It was truly a birthday that “cooked up” plenty of wonderful memories.
Since her arrival back home in Texas, Shanice cannot wait to get her pictures developed to show all of her friends; she’s still so excited that she’s telling everyone about her trip, even her doctor! “Everybody was so great,” said Shanice’s mother. “Jill was great. I couldn’t ask for a better person” to organize Shanice’s wish. “Thank you for everything!” Kids Wish Network was more than happy to have made Shanice’s birthday such a special one.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Shanice’s wish extra special: American Legion-James H. Perkins Post #533, Compassion Partners, WonderWorks, Rotary Club of Elgin, Kiwanis Club of Elgin, Paula Deen Enterprises, Dollar Rent A Car, Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, Sizzler, Royal Plaza Hotel, Micro-Bac International & Jeff Donohue, Elgin SPJST Lodge #18.
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