Imagine your child having a life-threatening illness and for one week everything from breakfast to baths was done in efforts to make them feel like they were the most important thing in the world and everything you could anticipate was already taken care of on your behalf.
Imagine all that and more…cost-free.
We’ll that was my four-year-old’s first family vacation and his wish granted by Tarrant County-based A Wish with Wings, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to Texas children who have life threatening illnesses.
Remembering the trip, I’m still almost without words on how I can express my ultimate gratitude for making this wish possible for him as well as our entire family!
And even more astounding is that my son is more than one of the 120,000 kids that have experienced the incredible experience of Give Kids the World Village, a 70-acre, non-profit storybook resort in Florida that treats the families of children with life-threatening diseases on a cost-free dream vacation.
The trip was full of firsts: a first limo, a first plane ride, a first family vacation and a first (and) only Wish Trip.
While my husband and I braced ourselves for taking two kids on a plane ready with snacks, activities and electronics, we were met at the airport with smiles and assistance – making the trip pretty dreamy for us.
Upon arrival at Give the Kids the World Village, we were in every kids’ dream world with ice-cream served all day, a life-sized Candyland game to play, horse riding, fishing and even a waterpark right outside our door to the two-bedroom villa we were provided during our stay. While we could have been pretty supremely happy just staying on the premises, there was a little boy’s wish of meeting Mickey Mouse to make come true.
The next morning we charted our first of three journeys to Disney World. It was only fitting we would visit the Magic Kingdom and its new Fantasyland, the newest, largest expansion to the park and made with little ones in mind first. We just weren’t sure exactly how much in mind they had for “wish kids” like Jackson.
Upon arrival, THANKFULLY we were provided a double stroller to be able to roll through with two kids at 90-degrees plus temperatures. And just like they promise, once we approached Cinderella’s Castle, just like a storybook, Mickey and the entire cast began singing as soon as we approached and instantly my kids were chanting, “Dreams Come True” with beautiful smiles upon their faces and twinkles in their eyes. I couldn’t help but begin to tear up and let the magic take over all of us.
However, the magic we would encounter had only begun. Each and every ride we came to was met with a “Hi Jackson” and a better-than-fast-pass leap to the front of the line. Yep, for three days the longest we stood in a line was around 10 minutes and it was Memorial Day Weekend!
While going to Disney World was Jackson’s first wish, his second wish was to go to the beach and build a sand castle. Being so close the coast, my husband and I worked to make this off-the-charts experience even better. So we purchased every sand castle toy we could at Walmart, packed the car with sunscreen and towels and made our way to Cocoa Beach to bask in the sun and see our little ones experience the ocean. It was simply perfect.
However, it was the opportunity to give me and my husband the strength and the occasion to finally tell Jackson about his heart condition, what happened to him when he was born and why he has a large scar across his chest. All of a sudden, in this one moment, we felt telling him here, with all these other children at Give the Kids the World, he wasn’t different because he had a problem, but he was different because he was amazing.
I can never begin to repay A Wish with Wings, Give Kids the World, any of the companies that donate their time and money, or any of the countless volunteers that help keep this cause alive. However,you CAN HELP by contributing to North Texas Giving Day. On this very special day, your donation (of at least $25) to A Wish with Wings will be amplified, giving an even bigger opportunity for even more wishes to be granted.
Together, let’s make sure that even more ” Dreams Come True” for children with life-threatening illnesses.