Local Boy with Shaken Baby Syndrome has the Time of his Life at Disney World

New Lexington, OH – Struggling with a life-threatening illness, seven-year-old Zachary gets a real treat when he’s flown to Walt Disney World, courtesy of Kids Wish Network.

At some point during Zachary’s infancy, his birth father picked him up and shook him, leaving him with shaken baby syndrome and hydrocephalus. Shaken baby syndrome causes many different types of injuries which range from nonspecific to obviously head trauma-related that last throughout the child’s life. This syndrome most likely caused Zachary’s hydrocephalus, also called “water on the brain.” Hydrocephalus is a condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, causing increased pressure within the skull. After his adoption at 5 months old, Zachary spent the first two years of his new life in and out of the hospital for numerous skull tappings and surgeries. Zach must also endure frequent CT scans and check-ups. In addition, he must receive occupational, speech and physical therapies regularly for his developmental delays.

It was the Perry County MRDD who referred young Zach for a wish, and when a representative called from Kids Wish Network to say that her son might be eligible for that wish, Zach’s mom, Leslie, knew that here was the chance to give something special to her little boy who had endured so much. It wasn’t long before Wish Coordinator, Vanessa, was told that Zach’s number one wish was to visit Walt Disney World in Florida. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist, Doris, and some truly terrific sponsors, Zach’s trip was set and ready to go, the itinerary bursting with wonderful things for Zach and his family to experience. Starting with a stay in the famous Royal Plaza Hotel, the wish trip also included tickets to all of the major theme parks, meals at Giordano’s and the Sizzler, a trip to WonderWorks and even dinner at the awesome Pirates Dinner Adventure Theatre!

“It was a magical experience!” said Leslie. “We were so happy the entire trip!” Zach was astounded by all of the activity and fun-to-be-had at the Walt Disney World Resort. He rode just about every ride possible and was thrilled at every turn. “Zach had such a great experience! After every ride, his famous words were ‘That was awesome!’” Zach’s wish was truly magical and something the entire family could really enjoy: “All I can say is WOW! What an awesome experience for our family.”

Their trip to Orlando didn’t just include fun and laughter, it also included “perfect” weather and VIP treatment for Zach and his family, everywhere they went. “The Royal Plaza Hotel was so great to us, and Giordano’s pizza treated us like royalty! They even walked us out when we left the restaurant!!”

Though the trip was everything that Zach wanted and more, it did have to end at some point and, according to his mother, “Zach didn’t want to leave Disney World and all the magic. For that, we thank you [Kids Wish Network] for the wish come true!!”

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Zachary’s wish extra special: Forest L. Mumford Post 71 American Legion, John Tague Post 188 American Legion, Dr. Haggenjos, Compassion Partners, Royal Plaza Hotel, Pirates Dinner Adventure, WonderWorks, Dollar Rent A Car, Giordano’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, and the Sizzler.

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48,632 kids helped this last fiscal year through our many programs and services.

Our Mission

Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs.