Dean’s Disney Days

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A young man battling a life-threatening illness has his Disney wishes come true with a little help from Kids Wish Network.

Sometimes, all it takes is a simple phone call to make someone’s dreams come true. For fifteen year old Dean of Champaign, this is more than truth; it is his reality.

Dean’s mother, Michele, received a call from a Kids Wish Network professional fundraiser who asked if she knew any children who would benefit from a wish. It took her only an instant to mention her son, Dean, who suffers from myotonic muscular dystrophy. This is a degenerative disease of the muscles that primarily affects those of the face, neck and lower arms and legs. These muscles contract but have difficulty in relaxing, resulting in fine and gross motor deficiencies. Dean suffers from multiple speech problems and is easily fatigued. So far, he has endured two surgeries on his legs and feet, and he is still able to walk because of them.

Dean’s one wish to visit Disney World was entrusted to Wish Coordinator, Jill, who made sure that the young man and his family had the trip of a lifetime. Besides tickets to all of the theme parks they could handle, Jill arranged for them to have some very special dinners as well as accommodations at the famous Royal Plaza Hotel!

“Ever since they [Dean and his siblings] saw TV families go there [to Disney], they wanted to go, too,” said Michele of her son’s wish. “We did so much more than we thought we would there!”

Every day was a new and exciting adventure for Dean and his family at SeaWorld, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. They saw plenty of shows and rode all of the rides that they wanted. The kids met some their all-time favorite characters including Mickey Mouse and even got to see the Pixar Parade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

“Dean had a great time…we all had a great time…His favorite thing was the Pixar Parade,” said Michele. “They were all tickled to see so many characters. There was a little something for everyone. It was really fun!”

Now that they’re back home in Champaign, it’s “back to our regular life,” according to Dean. However, life isn’t so “regular” now with all of the brand new memories and souvenirs from Dean’s wish to reminisce with.

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Dean’s wish extra special: American Legion Post 24, WonderWorks, Compassion Partners, Royal Plaza Hotel, Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater, Scooter Vacations, Uno Chicago Grill and Sweet Tomatoes.

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

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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.