MILLINGTON, Md. – A 6-year-old girl suffering from a life-threatening illness has her only wish granted through children’s charity, Kids Wish Network.
When she was born, Jessie was diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome. This is a rare congenital disease whose symptoms vary greatly between individuals but commonly include a history of recurrent infection and heart defects. In her five short years, Jessie’s already endured three open heart surgeries, a surgery to insert a tracheotomy tube and suffers from a seizure disorder. She must use either a wheelchair or a stroller for mobility and is fed via feeding tube. In addition, Jessie was recently given her own service dog (named Riley), uses sign language to communicate and is ventilator dependant for 15 hours every day.
One day, while reading her local paper, Jessie’s mother, Julie Ann, came across an article about a young man named Marshall Hill who had his wish granted through Kids Wish Network before his unfortunate passing months later. The article was to raise funds for the charity in Marshall’s name. Julie Ann wondered if Kids Wish Network could help her daughter as well, so she decided to give them a call.
Once in contact with Wish Coordinator Jill, Julie Ann entrusted her with Jessie’s wish to visit all of the theme parks in Orlando, Florida. With the help of Wish Funding Specialist Doris and some outstanding sponsors, Jill arranged hotel stays, dinner reservations and, of course, tickets to every theme park for Jessie and her family.
“It was all so great! It couldn’t have been better,” said Julie Ann.
While in Orlando, Jessie and her family visited Sea World, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.
“She loved it all,” said Julie Ann of Jessie’s reaction to the atmosphere of the many theme parks.
According to her mother, Jessie woke up early every day without a hint of grumpiness and signed that she wanted to “go.” Every day, her parents would ask her where she wanted to go and every day she would sign back “More boats, Mickey.” It was obvious what her favorite experiences were and that she wanted more of the same. Even Jessie’s service dog Riley enjoyed himself.
Now that she’s back home in Millington, Jessie still wakes up early every day, signing that she wants to “go” on “more boats” and see “Mickey.” Even though she’s feeling a bit under the weather, Jessie cheers up at any thought of “the most magical place on Earth.”
Jessie and her family loved the trip so much that they’re planning on making another trip there, much to Jessie’s glee.
“It was perfect,” said Julie Ann. “We feel so blessed. We’re so thankful!”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Jessie’s wish extra special: Fraternal Order of Police #110, Chesapeake City VFW Post 7687, Fair Winds Gun Club, Peoples Bank of Kent County, Compassion Partners, The Royal Plaza Hotel, Hampton Inn Fayetteville, Pirates Dinner Theatre, Wonder Works, Logan’s Roadhouse, Friendly’s Restaurant and Houlihan’s.
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.