FREEPORT, Ill. – A little boy with a life-threatening illness has the wish of his life with Kids Wish Network.
Sometimes all it takes is one person to change a life. For five-year-old Jayden of Freeport, it took one person to make the call and a whole organization to realize his dream.
When a representative of children’s charity Kids Wish Network called Jayden’s mother, Angela, asking about her son, she told them all about her little boy’s struggles.
In August of 2007, Jayden was diagnosed with Ependymoma, which is a malignant type of brain cancer. Three days after his diagnosis, he suffered through a sixteen hour surgery to remove the tumor, leaving him with unexpected intracranial swelling, fluid build-up and severe nerve strain from the removal of his breathing tube. The nerve strain he endured disrupted a number of Jayden’s functions including swallowing, breathing and talking. He can hear out of only one ear and must receive nourishment via feeding tube. Jayden has also undergone numerous radiation treatments and must take various medications daily.
It was Wish Coordinator Vanessa to whom Jayden entrusted his wish of visiting Walt Disney World with his family. With the assistance of Wish Funding Specialist Doris, and some magnificent sponsors, Vanessa used her “Guardian Angel” magic to organize a Disney trip that would foster memories to last a lifetime for Jayden and his family.
Along with tickets to all of the major theme parks that Jayden could ever want to visit, Vanessa arranged for the family to stay at the famous Royal Plaza Hotel and even arranged for the family to enjoy their dinners at some special restaurants including Red Lobster, the Pirates Dinner Adventure and Friendly’s Restaurant.
“We loved it [the trip],” said Angela. “It was awesome!”
Even before boarding the plane to leave Illinois for the Sunshine state, Jayden knew that the trip was for him, exclaiming, “My wish is finally coming true!” and telling everyone that he had to board the plane first because “it’s my wish.”
When Jayden and his family arrived in Orlando, they planned out the details of their vacation from a room overlooking bustling Downtown Disney.
While there, the family visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom. Jayden and his twin brother, Bayley, enjoyed meeting all of their favorite characters and were surprised to find that some could talk while other characters could not. It was a baffling and interesting discovery every time they met a character who could speak.
Some particular highlights for Jayden were watching the parades, riding the “Toy Story Mania!” ride and experiencing the thrill of Hollywood Studios’ end-of-the-day spectacular, “Fantasmic.”
Though he had fun in Orlando, Jayden says that “it’s good to be back home” in Freeport where both he and his brother are enjoying all the great toys they picked up at Disney. Besides toys, they’ll now have memories aplenty to last as long as possible, which is just what Vanessa back at Kids Wish Network wanted for Jayden and his family.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Jayden’s wish extra special: Allied Veterans Council, Auto Repair Specialists, Freeport Firefighters Association, Cornerstone Credit Union, Embury United Methodist Church, Fraternal Order of Eagles #679, U.S. Bank, Orangeville Elementary School, American Legion Auxiliary 2nd Division, Compassion Partners, WonderWorks, Pirates Dinner Adventure, The Royal Plaza Hotel, Thrifty Rent-A-Car, Red Lobster and Friendly’s Restaurant.
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
Written by: Editorial Staff