LITHIA, Fla. – International children’s charity Kids Wish Network sent Lithia girl Flor Cruz, who is suffering from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, on an all expenses paid cruise to fulfill her fondest wish. Kids Wish Network is an international charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations.
“Granting a wish is a wonderful way to help give these brave children something they truly want,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Anna Lanzatella. “It will, in turn, give them hope for a happier, healthier future.”
Thirteen-year-old Flor was born with rheumatoid arthritis, although she was not diagnosed with it until she was five. This is a chronic condition that causes extreme pain and swelling in the joints that has severely affected Flor’s fingers and feet, as well as her joints, to the point where she is unable to walk because of the pain. When Flor was three, she was also diagnosed with type one diabetes. This condition caused her glucose levels to go out of control and she was hospitalized several times before they were able to control it with daily insulin injections. Earlier this year, Flor was hospitalized in the ICU again after developing ketoacidosis, a side effect of low insulin production related to diabetes. In addition to the daily insulin injections, Flor follows a regimen of pain medication to help her handle the severe pain caused by her arthritis.
For Flor’s wish, Kids Wish Network arranged an all expenses paid Carnival cruise that included a room at the Ron Jon Resort before their departure and dinner that same evening. The cruise departed from Cape Canaveral, Florida and traveled all the way to the Bahamas. During their stay, Flor and her family were given the royal treatment everywhere, which included a shore excursion to the Atlantis resort, a dolphin swim, a tour of the bridge with the captain, and special sugar-free desserts sent to Flor’s room, which was brightly decorated, much to her surprise.
“The wish was beautiful,” said Flor’s mother, Flor Diaz. “There are no words to really express how we feel. The Carnival people were wonderful, and Flor felt like a queen! We enjoyed every minute.”
Now that she’s home from her wish, Flor is still showing everyone her pictures and sharing her memories. These same pictures and memories also help when Flor is dealing with the pain of her conditions.
“She was so happy,” said her mother. “She has her wish and it was perfect. Thank you.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for making Flor’s all expenses paid trip and wish so spectacular: Carnival Cruise Line, Ron Jon Resort, Cape Caribe, Applebee’s, and the Cape Canaveral Port Authority.
For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit www.kidswishnetwork.org.
Every child deserves a chance at happiness; a wish is a way of bringing them that joy. If you would like to sponsor a child’s wish or if you know a child who is suffering from a life-threatening illness and may be in need of Kids Wish Network’s wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004.