“He can’t wait to go back!”
At 2 months old, Jaylen’s mom Katherine noticed something odd about her baby boy. Whenever she called his name, Jaylen’s eyes would search for the source, but never landed on her. A doctor informed Katherine that her son had loose muscles behind his eyes. An MRI showed that in his left eye, Jaylen was legally blind while in right eye, he had 20/20 vision.
Jaylen was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis complex or TSC. It is a genetic disorder causing the growth of numerous benign tumors in the body as the result of cell growth not being adequately suppressed. TSC primarily affects the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin and lungs. The aspects of TSC that most strongly impact the individual’s quality of life are most commonly associated with the brain: seizures, developmental delay, intellectual disability and autism.
Jaylen has a witty and laid back personality, a self-proclaimed funny guy, Jaylen can never resist a good joke. He makes sure there is never a dull moment in his house and enjoys making making laughter. People can’t help but smile when they are around him. Jaylen is a big dinosaur enthusiast and can rattle off facts about these pre-historic creatures for hours. Jurrassic Park is one of his favorite films.
On his wish of a lifetime, it was Jalen’s turn to be smiling – and that he did throughout his entire visit to Orlando. At Disneyworld he posed for pictures with Jessie, Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Not only could he not stop talking about the Disney characters while he was there, he repeatedly asked his mother if he could bring them home. Jalen overcame his fear of rides and got on the merry-go-round, the Seven Dwarfs ride and Buzz Lightyear’s 3D ride. A stroll through Universal’s Citywalk was definitely an experience to remember. In fact, visiting Disneyworld for three days excited him so much, he wants to go back! There’s absolutely no doubt the Goofy hat he purchased in the park will get a lot of wear back at home.
Jalen’s Florida adventure continued at the Hard Rock Café where he enjoyed dancing to rock music with his waiter. He and his mother loved dining at Benihana’s and Uno’s Pizzeria and Grill. His hotel stay at Calypso Cay Resort was another fun opportunity for him to enjoy the palm trees of the sunshine state, and he absolutely adored the hotel pool’s water slide. And, of course, it wasn’t long after they checked into their hotel room that the sweet treats provided by Erin McKenna’s Bakery were gobbled up.
Jalen’s Orlando trip was specifically tailored to his love of fun and laughter. This special experience is one that Jalen (and his mother) won’t soon forget.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make Jaylen’s wish come true:
• Calypso Cay
• Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC
• Hard Rock Café
• National Car Rental
• Compassion Partners Program