An 11-year old boy with a life-threatening condition known as Friedreich’s ataxia was granted a wish by Kids Wish Network to travel to the Florida theme parks.
During the earlier years of his life, Jace’s mother, Renee, thought her son was clumsy, like many young boys are. When Jace’s coordination issues continued to worsen, Renee took her son to the hospital under the assumption that he was suffering from an inner ear or equilibrium malfunction.
What Renee found out was that Jace has a genetic, life-threatening neuromuscular condition called Friedreich’s ataxia, which causes the muscles of the body to slowly weaken. Jace currently has to use a wheelchair or other mobility devices for long distances or for days when he is feeling weak.
The fact that Jace’s condition is life-threatening qualified him to have a wish granted by national children’s charity Kids Wish Network. Renee said that she has been donating to Kids Wish Network for years and she finally decided to refer her son to have a wish granted. Jace, who is an avid lover of animals and sea life, knew that he wanted to travel to the Florida theme parks where he could get up close and personal with his favorite sea animals.
“Most of the parks I haven’t been to, and I really wanted to go,” Jace said.
Kids Wish Network, along with the help of some local sponsors from the American Legion Post 54, Lions Club of Fernandina Beach, Women of the Moose Chapter 2355 and GFWC Woman’s Club of Fernandina Beach, arranged for Jace and his family to travel to Orlando for a few days of excitement. While there, Jace got to visit all the parks he wanted and experience the fun of Orlando.
“[We went to] Sea World, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventures, and Epcot,” he said. “Universal Studios [was my favorite] because of the Jaws ride.”
Aside from theme park tickets, Jace’s wish trip included accommodations at the Double Tree Hotel Universal Orlando, spending money, dinners each night and tickets to attractions like the hands-on museum, WonderWorks. Renee said that the trip was amazing and that Jace’s wish coordinator did an awesome job.
“There was so much we all enjoyed,” she said. “It was truly special.” Now that Jace’s trip is over, he’s left with memories of an exciting wish trip and feelings of gratitude.
“Thank you for letting me have the opportunity to go to different parks and have so much fun,” Jace said.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Jace’s wish extra special: American Legion Post 54, Lions Club of Fernandina Beach, Women of the Moose Chapter 2355, GFWC Woman’s Club of Fernandina Beach, Double Tree Hotel Universal Orlando, California Pizza Kitchen, Pirates Dinner Theatre, Wonderworks and Disney World Compassion Program