ZANESVILLE, Ohio – A little boy with a life-threatening illness travels to Florida for a few days of adventure with a little help from Kids Wish Network.
When Austin was two years old, he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerve endings in the spine, brain, eyes, and bone joints. At the age of four, doctors determined that he also has Noonan Syndrome, which can present itself in heart defects, low muscle tone, hyperextended joints, short stature, and eating disorders. He has had many surgeries, including one to correct double hernias at age 3 ½, the removal of a spinal tumor at age 8 and tendon release surgery on both Achilles tendons at age 10. He has a lesion on his brain that doctors are monitoring closely, and he is takes growth hormone shots daily.
While reading an article in the local newspaper about a child’s wish being granted through Kids Wish Network, a friend of the family thought that Austin would benefit from a wish and submitted his name to the organization. It wasn’t long before a Kids Wish Network representative called Austin’s mother, Jeanie, and she told them about her brave little boy. Soon Austin had his very own Wish Coordinator, named Jill, who found out that his wish was to visit Walt Disney World in Florida. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist, Megan, and some outstanding sponsors, Jill organized the trip of a lifetime that included tickets to all of the major theme parks in Orlando, dinner at the Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater and a stay at the famous Royal Plaza Hotel!
Once in Orlando, Austin and his family had a real blast visiting the Magic Kingdom at Disney, Universal Studios, WonderWorks and SeaWorld. Everywhere they went, Austin had a great time. At Magic Kingdom, he enjoyed being spooked in the Haunted Mansion and riding both Thunder and Splash Mountain! At Universal Studios, “The Grinch gave him a hairdo to match his own! Austin got to talk to Spiderman and get a picture with him. He got a temporary tattoo and all in all he had a wonderful time!” said Jeanie.
“We [also] met many wonderful people on our trip. One family even made a wish for Austin at the hotel fountain when they heard his story. We were given First Time Visitors badges at Disney and got Fast Pass tickets to move to the front of the lines so Austin didn’t have to stand and wait so long in the hot sun. At Universal we were given a Comp Pass also to move to the front of the lines. With his low muscle tone and the surgeries he’s had, it’s very difficult for him to stand for long periods of time. This was extremely helpful for him,” said Austin’s mom.
“We want to thank all of the sponsors for their contributions to Austin’s wish, The Royal Plaza, the Bahama Breeze, Bennigan’s, WonderWorks and The Pirates Adventure Dinner Theater. But most of all we want to thank Kids Wish Network for the wonderful work they are doing. This trip would never have been possible without their generosity and kindness.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Austin’s wish extra special: Fraternal Order of Eagles #302, Compassion Partners, Royal Plaza Hotel, Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater, Bennigan’s, Bahama Breeze 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