WYOMING, Mich. – An 11-year-old girl suffering from a life-threatening illness had her only wish to visit New York with her family granted through national children’s charity Kids Wish Network.
When she was just an infant, Katelynn was diagnosed with having cystic fibrosis, a devastating disease that causes mucus buildup to clog various organs including the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestines. This condition often leads to life-threatening lung infections and also interferes with food absorption. Since her diagnosis, Katelynn has had to suffer through a surgery to remove sinus polyps as well as a tonsillectomy. She also has tubes in her ears and must endure daily percussion vest and nebulizer treatments.
When a professional fundraiser for national children’s charity Kids Wish Network made a call to Katelynn’s grandmother, they asked if she knew of any child living with a life-threatening illness; she mentioned her granddaughter. Before long, Katelynn’s mother, Kimberley, received a call from the wish referral department at Kids Wish Network and Katelynn was on her way to having her wish to visit New York.
In a whirlwind of activity, Katelynn and her family were whisked away to New York and were provided with a day-by-day itinerary by her wish coordinator that was chock-full of activities tailored to Katelynn’s interests. Some of the activities included were a tour of the Statue of Liberty, lunch at the famous Russian Tea Room, a tour of FAO Schwartz, a trip to Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, ice skating at Rockefeller center, a chance to watch “Mary Poppins” on Broadway and much, much more!
“The trip was phenomenal,” said Kimberley. “Everybody was so good to the girls and it was just an awesome experience…something we had never experienced before every day.”
With accommodations at the luxurious Roosevelt Hotel, a limousine to drive them back to their hotel and dinner reservations at a different restaurant every night, Katelynn and her family felt like celebrities.
On their first day there, Katelynn and her family enjoyed a VIP tour of the Statue of Liberty and on their second day, they toured the famous FAO Schwartz store and had lunch in the Russian Tea Room. They also visited the American Museum of Natural History, where Katelynn and her two younger sisters had a ball in the butterfly room, delighting especially when the butterflies landed on them.
The following day was a trip to Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum and, that evening, the family attended a Broadway production of “Mary Poppins” complete with a special backstage tour.
“Mary Poppins was just phenomenal,” said Kimberley. “We all loved it…the people were so wonderful!”
On their final day in New York, Katelynn and her family enjoyed the ice skating in Rockefeller Center and loved the view of New York that they saw from The Top of the Rock observation deck. All in all, it was the perfect “Big Apple” wish for Katelynn.
Of her daughter’s wish, Kimberley could only say that it was more than satisfactory: “It was great. We really enjoyed being with our family…it was so wonderful. This was definitely something we never could’ve done [without Kids Wish Network] and we are so grateful. Thank you so much! We couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for making Katelynn’s wish such a special experience:
American Museum of Natural History; JCPenney;Disney Theatrical Productions, LTD; National Park Service, Statue of Liberty; Statue Cruises; FAO Schwartz; U.S. Limousine Service, Ltd.; Top of the Rock Observation Deck; The Roosevelt Hotel; The Rink at Rockefeller Center; The Russian Tea Room; Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium Times Square; Heartland Brewery; ‘Wichcraft; and Little Italy Pizza.
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 having experienced life-threatening illnesses. Kids Wish Network is especially proud of their “Guardian Angel Fund”, which uses 100% of its contributions to support the wish granting program. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of wish granting services, or would like to contribute to a child’s wish, 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