WEST PORTSMOUTH, Ohio- A young lady diagnosed with a life-threatening illness has her dream of going to Florida realized with a little help from Kids Wish Network.
When she received a call from Kids Wish Network who had been told about her daughter from a friend of her mother’s, Rhonda was unsure what to make of it. However, after talking to the representative, she realized that it was an opportunity to give something special to her little girl who had suffered so much.
You see, at three years old, Rhonda’s daughter, Hali, was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. This is a genetic disorder of the connective tissue that can affect the heart, eyes, skeleton and lungs. For Hali, this condition has caused her to endure two open heart surgeries to correct her heart’s valves, and two skeletal reconstruction surgeries on her feet that subsequently failed. She also has scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine. For her scoliosis, Hali has suffered through two surgically implanted steel rods to correct her fused spine, though this causes her to have extremely limited mobility. Her bones are also exceptionally fragile and Hali must go to the hospital every six months for calcium treatments. In addition, Hali has severe dexterity problems and is blind in one eye.
Kids Wish Network Wish Coordinator, Jen, was the one to discover that Hali’s wish was to visit Walt Disney World in Florida; Jen worked her “Guardian Angel” magic and created, with the help of Wish Funding Specialist, Doris, and some special sponsors, a very magical wish for Hali that included tickets to all of the major Orlando theme parks, a stay at the beautiful Regal Sun Resort and dinner at the awesome Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater!
Once in Florida, Hali and her family were overcome with all of the sights and sounds of the tourist town. “It was really something,” said Hali’s father, Steven. “We wanted to see everything,” and it sure seemed like they did! Hali and her family visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot Center as well as SeaWorld!
Though she loved going “around the world” at Epcot, riding all of the simulators and enjoying the interactive shows, Hali’s favorite theme park was SeaWorld. Hali’s love of marine mammals was bursting at the park and the people who worked there could tell; Hali was given a behind-the-scenes greeting by some bottle nosed friends, to whom she even had the chance to feed some tasty fish treats! “She had a blast at SeaWorld,” said Steven.
“We had a fantastic time,” said both of Hali’s parents. “We can’t thank you [Kids Wish Network] enough. Hali’s a hard one to please, let me tell you,” said her father, “but she had a blast…I don’t see how anyone can go through your program and not have a great time. We enjoyed ourselves so much.” Hali’s dream came true and that’s what counts.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Hali’s wish extra special: American Legion Post #471, Woodman of the World Lodge 29, Portsmouth Block Inc, Larry & Lindsey Livingstone, Desco Federal Credit Union, Regal Sun Resort, Compassion Partners, Pirates Dinner Adventure, WonderWorks and the California Pizza Kitchen.
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