PLAINVIEW, Ark. – A little boy with a life-threatening illness has the wish of his life with Kids Wish Network.
Six-year-old Zachary is a vivacious little guy who just loves adventure. He is already quite a fisherman and one of his favorite pastimes is going four-wheeling. He’s a big fan of the monster truck, Gravedigger, and he enjoys playing baseball and watching football on TV with his dad. His favorite action heroes are the Power Rangers and his favorite movie is Disney’s “Cars.”
The only thing that has slowed down this energetic, young outdoorsman is a form of eye cancer called Bilateral Retinoblastoma, which has caused tumors to form in the retinas of both his eyes. Doctors treated Zachary with chemotherapy right after his diagnosis at six months of age, and he has since endured numerous surgeries as well as radiation to remove and shrink the tumors. He must now wear dark sunglasses when he is outdoors and has developed a cataract on his right eye, both as results of the radiation treatment. Because of this cataract, Zach is going to have to endure yet another major surgery. Despite the obstacles he’s faced while battling cancer, Zachary remains happy and full of life.
After being referred to Kids Wish Network through an anonymous friend of the family’s, Zach made his one wish known to Wish Coordinator, Jennifer: to visit Walt Disney World in Florida. Along with the assistance of Wish Funding Specialist, Doris, and some outstanding sponsors, Jennifer worked her magic and organized an awesome family getaway for Zach and his family. This fabulous vacation included a stay and the famous Royal Plaza Hotel, dinners at the Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater and the California Pizza Kitchen and, of course, tickets to the Walt Disney World Resort and all of the other major Orlando theme parks!
Once in Orlando, Zach and his family enjoyed a real action-packed time; their itinerary was booked with many wonderful activities to experience and places to visit. “I didn’t think a six-year-old could wear me out,” said Zach’s dad, Tim, “but he did!” The family visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. It was at the Hollywood Studios where Zach finally had the chance to meet his heroes, the Power Rangers. Right before the fantastic “Lights, Motors, Action!™ Extreme Sports Show” at the back of the park, Zach’s dream came true as he shook the hands of his favorite rangers, took pictures with them and even scored their autographs! “They were definitely his [Zach’s] big deal,” said his dad.
At Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Zach and his big sister felt right at home in the fantastical place where they rode plenty of rides, “about 12 to 15,” according to Tim. Though the dinner at the Pirates Adventure Theatre was “really neat,” Zach and his family enjoyed their meal at the California Pizza Kitchen the most of all. “It was our best meal of the week…they went out of their way to take care of us there,” said Tim.
Though he’s not looking forward to his approaching surgery, Zach has plenty of great memories and souvenirs to help him get through even the toughest of times. “We wanted to do this before the surgery happens…so he can think about it [the wish trip]. Jen did a great job. Zach had a perfect time!”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Zach’s wish extra special: Ace Hardware, the City of Plainview, Robert & Joyce Evans, Jason & Amber Gardner, American Legion Fisher-Lusby Post 76, Plainview Suprette-Mr. & Mrs. Scott Gongola, Compassion Partners, Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater, Royal Plaza Hotel, WonderWorks and 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