MASSILLON, Ohio – A little boy with a life-threatening illness enjoys the wish of his life with a little help from Kids Wish Network.
Kimberly smiled as her only son laughed and fed gigantic tarpon fish that practically jumped out of the water for him. The day before, he was swimming with dolphins. Had someone told her a year before that this would all have been possible through children’s charity, Kids Wish Network, she wouldn’t have believed them.
When she heard about the charity through the University Hospital Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland where her son was being treated for stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Kimberly decided to give them a call. After surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, Zachary was in desperate need of something to take his mind off of his illness.
Through the help of Wish Coordinator Jill, Wish Funding Specialist Doris and some fantastic sponsors, Zach’s wish of swimming with the dolphins came true in high style.
After a flight from Ohio to Florida, Zach and his family kicked off their Florida getaway with the royal treatment at the Casa Grande Suite Hotel and Spa, where Jill had arranged their accommodations.
“It was really a dream vacation,” said Kimberly.
Along with all of their accommodations, Jill organized an itinerary for the family to follow that was packed full of activities that catered to Zach’s interests and hobbies; she also made sure that every evening was topped off with dinner reservations at first class restaurants, where they received the finest service possible.
“Jill definitely did a great job,” said Kimberly. “He [Zach] was so excited about everything!”
Zach, who is on the swim team and attends meetings of a children’s global warming awareness club, was thrilled to visit the Theater of the Sea, the Miami Science Museum and Gator Park. Every where he went, he learned something new and exciting about marine biology and the world around him. “He was engrossed” learning about everything he could, said his mom.
Between the day trips, Zach even got in plenty of quality beach time to swim, snorkel and just enjoy the warm Florida sun.
Of course, out of all the things that he got to experience, Zach will always have a special place in his heart for his trip to the Miami Seaquarium, where he finally got to swim with dolphins.
“He was just happy” petting the dolphins and sharing the water with them, said Kimberly. “The experience was really great.”
While at the Miami Seaquarium, not only did Zach swim with dolphins, but also with parrotfish and barracudas, which may seem pretty scary, but Zach learned something new: that barracudas are more scared of people than the people are of them! The whole vacation was a fun learning experience that will stay with Zach for his entire life.
For making her son’s only wish come true, Kimberly could not thank Kids Wish Network enough: “I just can’t say enough good things about Kids Wish Network! Thank you.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Zach’s wish come true: American Legion Post 221, Am-Vets Post 12, Fitness Quest, Inc., Loyal Order of Moose Lodge #481, Massillon Fire Department, Massillon Kiwanis Club, VFW Post 3124, VFW Post 3446, VFW Post 9795, Big Pink, T.G.I. Friday’s, Islamorada Fish Co., Alamo Rent A Car, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Island Queen Cruises, Miami Science Museum, Miami Seaquarium, Gator Park, Theater of the Sea and the Casa Grande Beach Suite Hotel.
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