CLEVELAND, Wisc. – Children’s charity Kids Wish Network recently sent Cleveland boy Hunter Hasenstein, who suffers from neurofibromatosis, on an all expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World. 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.
“Bringing smiles to the faces of children in need through our programs is an unmatchable joy,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Anna Lanzatella. “With our wish granting program, we not only bring smiles to the faces of the kids, but we also help a whole family to breathe easier and give them the chance to enjoy being a family without the stresses of medical treatments and doctor visits.”
As an infant, Hunter was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1, a condition that causes tumors to grow in the nervous system. An MRI revealed nodules on his optic nerve and his condition was closely monitored by doctors. At the age of two, Hunter began experiencing constant headaches and hallucinations. Another MRI showed tumors on his pituitary gland and spots in his brain. Now 6, Hunter’s young age restricts his treatment and he is currently unable to undergo chemotherapy to shrink the tumors. Instead, he has bloodwork done every month and an MRI every year in order to monitor his condition.
Angela Hasenstein, Hunter’s mother, first heard about children’s charity Kids Wish Network from another wish mom, whose child suffers from the same illness.
Kids Wish Network arranged an all expenses paid trip to Florida for Hunter and his family, where they visited Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. They were also treated to dinners every evening, including a dinner performance at the famous Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Theatre.
For Hunter, his favorite experiences were his first ride on a rollercoaster and enjoying every ride he could, especially the The Barnstormer at the Magic Kingdom and Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Another special memory for Hunter was his dinner at Olive Garden, where he was treated like a prince. The staff greeted him with Green Bay Packers gear to celebrate his favorite football team along with gifts for his siblings and dinner in a private, VIP room.
Since his return home, Hunter has worn his favorite souvenir shirt to school and can’t wait to make a huge photo album of all of the hundreds of pictures his family took during his wish trip.
“Thank you very, very much, Kids Wish Network” said Angela. “Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Hunter was so happy. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. I don’t think saying ‘thank you’ really covers it.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for making Hunter’s all expenses paid trip and wish so spectacular: Compassion Partners, Lake Buena Vista Resort, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Theater, Wonderworks, Dollar Rent A Car, CiCi’s Pizza Restaurant, and Olive Garden.
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.
:p>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.