Devin’s Disney Days

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – A little girl with a blood disorder travels to Florida for a few days of “fun in the sun” with a little help from Kids Wish Network.

Twelve-year-old Devin was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at birth. This is a disorder of the hemoglobin protein, which transfers oxygen to the body’s cells. This abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cells to form in crescent shapes, which are fragile and easily ruptured. Devin suffers extreme pain crises frequently and is often taken out of school because of them; she has a tutor at school in order to keep her up-to-date on her studies. Just a year ago, Devin suffered a silent stroke and every three weeks for the rest of her life, she must endure a blood transfusion to help prevent another stroke. Devin is in and out of the hospital frequently and is on a daily medication regimen to help her manage the pain.

When a social worker at the Children’s National Medical Center told Devin’s mother, Brenda, about Kids Wish Network, she knew that here was a chance to give something special to her little girl who had endured so much. When Wish Coordinator, Jill, learned of Devin’s wish to visit the fun-filled city of Orlando, Florida, she set out to create a vacation of a lifetime for the young lady and her family. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist, Doris, and a number of terrific sponsors, Jill arranged to have Devin visit all of the theme parks that she wanted while she stayed in style at the famous Royal Plaza Hotel!

“I wish we were still there,” said Brenda. “Devin loved it [there] and it made her dream come true.” Devin’s wish was fulfilled in every way possible with day long trips to the Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and SeaWorld. According to her mom, there were so many things to do and see, but “whatever we did, Devin enjoyed it…she enjoyed herself more than we did!” Even visiting the shopping splendor of Downtown Disney was an awe-inspiring experience for the little girl. Of course, even the best dreams must come to an end and, at the end of five fantastic days, Brenda told Devin that it was time to return home. “She didn’t want to leave, said Brenda. “Even I wish we were still there!”

Now back in Maryland, Devin’s dream has quite a hold on her reality in the form of plenty of autographs, souvenirs and pictures. She now has a whole bunch of great memories to share with her friends and family, memories that will help her get through whatever pain she must endure in the future.

“We really appreciate Kids Wish Network for making her [Devin’s] wish come true…thank you for giving her this opportunity. It’s really made her happy.”

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Devin’s wish extra special: Prince George’s Community Federal Credit Union, Trinity Episcopal Church, Wal-Mart, Compassion Partners, WonderWorks, Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater, Sweet Tomatoes, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and the Regal Sun Resort.

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

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

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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.