LIVINGSTON, N.J. (Feb. 4, 2015): For the average boy, running around or playing football might be a favorite pastime, but for Wish Kid Michael Torrens from Livingston, N.J., physical activity isn’t an option. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, 11-year-old Michael has always found solace in Broadway musicals. Now, thanks to children’s charity Kids Wish Network, his wish to his favorite performance was recently granted.
“There really aren’t enough words to thank Kids Wish Network for what they did for Michael,” says his mom Anna Torrens. “He had such an amazing time.”
Michael first started displaying symptoms of his life-threatening disease at 6 months old. His mother noticed he wasn’t hitting developmental milestones, and while all babies develop differently, his issues didn’t seem to improve months later. At 9 months old, Michael was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture caused by an insult to the developing brain.
One of his symptoms is extremely stiff limbs; Michael cannot walk, is wheelchair-dependent, and has spastic quadriplegia. His muscles also tighten every time he has a growth spurt. Michael utilizes physical, occupational and speech therapy and takes medication to help with muscle stiffness.
Michael has always been drawn to music and uses it as a coping strategy as he battles his life-threatening illness. His favorite musical of all time is “Phantom of the Opera”, and he was beyond excited when Kids Wish Network was able to grant his ultimate wish.
Michael and his family traveled to the bright lights of New York City courtesy of the charity where they stayed at luxury accommodations, enjoyed VIP tours and a cruise, dined at elegant restaurants, and took in Michael’s favorite Broadway show.
“The wish put together for Michael was beyond his wildest dreams,” Torrens said. “The Phantom of the Opera, of course, was the biggest treat; he loved it! From start to finish, the weekend was just incredible.”
All of Michael’s wish sponsors went above-and-beyond to help Kids Wish Network grant him an unforgettable experience. Michael was even able to meet the “Phantom” himself, Norm Lewis, during dinner at The Capital Grille.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank all the sponsors that helped make this wish trip possible: The Roosevelt Hotel, The Capital Grille, Shubert Organization, The Seafire Grill, Hornblower Cruises and Events, Dave & Buster’s, Jacques Torres Chocolate, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Livingston Elks Lodge #1855.
Michael is still singing the songs from his favorite musical weeks later. He will continue to remain positive and fight against his incurable illness.
Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Visit www.kidswishnetwork.org to learn more and find out how you can help makes dreams come true and sponsor a wish for a deserving child.