WEST ORANGE, N.J. – A little boy with a life-threatening illness has the wish of his life visiting theme parks in Florida with a little help from Kids Wish Network.
Just last year, after almost constant testing, 5-year-old Michael was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Williams-Beuren Syndrome. This is a neurodevelopmental disorder that leads to various developmental delays and physical handicaps. In addition, Michael also has a condition called chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. This condition causes many different digestive problems and has lead to Michael needing a feeding tube to supplement his nutrition. He has been in and out of the hospital for much of his young life and needs constant CPAP treatments for breathing.
While searching online for organizations that might be able to grant a wish of Michael’s, his mother, Kathryn, stumbled on the website for Kids Wish Network, a national charity dedicated to making dreams come true for kids with life-threatening illnesses, and decided to give them a call.
Once she was informed of Michael’s condition, it wasn’t long before Wish Coordinator Jen was calling around to organize the perfect wish for the little boy, who wanted only to visit Walt Disney World. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist Doris and some fantastic sponsors, Jen made sure that everything was perfect before Michael and his family flew down to Florida.
When they arrived, Michael and his family were greeted “royally” at the famous Royal Plaza Hotel and started out on a packed itinerary complete with trips to theme parks, some swashbuckling fun at the Pirates Dinner Adventure and much more!
“We all had a wonderful time in Disney World,” said Kathryn. “From the moment we got on the airplane, Mikey was in awe…it was amazing to see how excited both kids were the past four days. I think Mikey’s favorite attraction was the ‘Lights, Motors, Action!’ show and ‘Toy Story Mania!’ [ride] at Hollywood Studios.”
All in all, it was the perfect wish for Mikey.
According to Kathryn, “Mikey’s wish was to experience all the fun and magic at Disney that touches the not-so-scary stuff, and being in Disney was just the right place to be. Although he still needed to take his medicines, he didn’t seem to be bothered with it as much. His wish of meeting Lightning McQueen [from Disney’s “Cars” movie] came true. The moment he saw the car, his eyes lit up. He kept asking if he could take the car home. Since we have been home, Mikey has been non-stop talking about Disney World. When we drive in the car, he pretends it is the monorail, which was another one of his favorites…I am thankful to Kids Wish Network for making this happen.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Michael’s wish extra special: Compassion Partners; Wonderworks; Pirates Dinner Adventure; The Royal Plaza Hotel; California Pizza Kitchen; American Legion Posts 201, 251, 299 and 448; East Orange Rotary Club; Steve Miele; West Orange PBA Local #25; and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #15.
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