Local boy’s only wish finally comes true

CLEVELAND, Ga. – A little boy with a life-threatening illness has the wish of his life visiting Disney World with a little help from Kids Wish Network.

After having her son referred to Kids Wish Network by a friend, Austin’s mother, Leila, soon found herself telling Austin’s story to Wish Coordinator Vanessa.

Two years ago, Austin was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This is one of the most progressive forms of muscular dystrophy and is characterized by extremely rapid deterioration of the muscles. Austin is currently receiving steroid therapy to slow down the muscle deterioration, though he is having trouble with his balance and walking long distances.

It was to that same Wish Coordinator that Austin entrusted his one wish: to visit the many theme parks in Florida. Along with the assistance of Wish Funding Specialist Donna and some outstanding sponsors, Vanessa worked her magic and set up an awesome family getaway for Austin and his family. This fabulous vacation included a stay at The Royal Plaza Hotel, dinner at the Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater and, of course, tickets to the Walt Disney World Resort and all of the other major Orlando theme parks!

“We had a great time,” said Leila. “Everybody was very friendly.”

While in Orlando, Austin and his family visited Sea World, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom. At every park he really had a blast watching the parades and fireworks, while some of his favorite rides were the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and Splash Mountain.

On their last evening in Florida, Austin and his family had dinner at the Pirates Dinner Adventure Theater. There, Austin really enjoyed himself while participating in the show and being called a V.I.P. He even laughed when his mom was chosen to go up on stage and handle the flags as a part of the show!

Austin’s wish became a reality with this trip and that’s all he wanted. Now that he’s back home in Cleveland, Austin can relish all the fun memories from his adventure and reminisce with his family.

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Austin’s wish extra special: CSE, Veterans of Foreign Wars, White County Rotary, Community Bank & Trust, United Community Bank, Compassion Partners, The Royal Plaza Hotel, Pirates Dinner Theater, Tony Roma’s, California Pizza Kitchen and WonderWorks.

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.