GREENFIELD, Ind.: As little Gwendolyn Redinger slowly climbed the steps toward the towering water slide, her mom Jennifer wasn’t sure if she’d have the courage to take the plunge.
“We took her to the top of the stairs the first time, and once she saw how high it was, she said “No” and climbed back down,” recalls Jennifer. “The next day she climbed up and went down the slide all by herself.”
Gwendolyn, or Gwen for short, was able to conquer her fear on her cruise wish trip granted by children’s charity Kids Wish Network. The organization is dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Gwen has suffered from a life-threatening medical condition since birth.
When Gwen was 8 months old, her pediatrician noticed she wasn’t hitting the average developmental milestones. After routine DNA testing was performed, the results came back negative for any abnormalities, but when Gwen turned 2, she started having numerous seizures that prompted more testing. Gwen was diagnosed with mitochondrial complex 1 deficiency, a disease that causes a dysfunction in her cells’ ability to produce energy; she also suffers from type 1 diabetes.
As a result of her illnesses, 9-year-old Gwen does not speak, has extremely low muscle tone and is completely insulin dependent. Still, the loving and happy child doesn’t let her condition damper her mood, especially on her wish trip from Kids Wish Network.
Gwen and her family had an incredible time on her Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas where she enjoyed spa days, lounging at the pools, dancing to the festive music, and conquering that water slide.
“Gwen had never seen a waterslide that big before,” adds Jennifer. “It was so great to see Gwen overcome that fear on her own. The cruise was just amazing; thank you Kids Wish Network.”
Kids Wish Network and the Redinger family would like to thank all of Gwen’s wish sponsors: Carnival Cruise Lines, Embassy Suites Hotel in North Charleston, South Carolina, and Chili’s, also of North Charleston, South Carolina.
Kids Wish Network is a Florida-based charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Come experience the Kids Wish Network difference.